A recent article posted in the Hobe Sound Magazine about a running group my husband and I formed a year ago. The Hobe Sound Runners. It all started with one post on the Treasure Coast Running Facebook group that said something like this, “If anyone in Hobe Sound is interested in running with us we meet at Harry and the Natives at 5:15am on Tuesday and Friday.”  On July 252018, the Hobe Sound Runners was born.  One person showed up and from there within a month it grew to a core group of 4-5 runners.  

 As an avid runner, I believe running can change lives.  Most people who are not runners say things like:

 “I’m not a runner”

 “I hate running” 

“I have a bad [knee/back/foot/etc..]”

“I’ll watch you from my couch and eat bacon (true story).”  

But running has changed our life and running with a group has just enhanced it more than we could have ever thought possible.   

How can it change your life?  Runners are some of the happiest people I know. And when you are around happy people it rubs off. If you are interested in lowering depression and anxiety before you run off to a doctor and take a prescription medication, start running.  I’ve heard story after story (including myself, because I’m human) if you want to combat depression slip on a pair of running shoes and head out the door.  Even if you don’t run (just yet), start walking, then brisk walk and before you know it presto you are a runner.  Running helps every aspect of your physical and mental health.  Always consult with your medical provider first, but you may be surprised to walk out of their office with directions to run.   

Everyone starts their running journey at different places and paces.   Don’t be discouraged, and don’t give up.  Nine years ago, I drove to the mailbox instead of walking the 200 yards.  Today I plan vacations and get away trips around the events we run.   (will we see you in Monterey, CA in November?)  

Kevin and I are also RRCA certified run coaches who can help you get started and keep you in the game so you can live a long and happy life.  We invite you to visit our website at www.highimpact-wellness.com for more information on our coaching programs to get you moving and keep you healthy.   


Week 4: Post Bariatric Surgery: The Results Are In!

We are now one month post bariatric surgery, and it’s been a whirlwind since last December.  I mentioned in last week’s blog post Kevin had his first set of lab work since pre-surgery.  If you remember I said his excitement about his blood work got the best of him and he had some dumping issues because he drank his protein drink very fast.  That was last week! And the results of his blood work post-surgery are in!  Before I get to the results I want to talk a bit about the major changes that have occurred over the past six months.

lost two pounds since last week.  started the week at 230 pounds

June 9th, 2016 — Week 4
[228 lbs]

The decision for gastric bypass surgery was not a fast one.  Matter of fact we have spent many years on the diet roller coaster thinking we can just lose weight and maintain it ourselves.  Ten years ago we talked about the lap band (which is less drastic than the full gastric bypass), but we decided against it.  I don’t think Kevin was quite ready to make such a drastic decision. Even though he was about 100 pounds overweight.  In the past ten years he has struggled to have a normal blood panel. Every panel stated in big bold letters, “High Risk.” It never seemed to alarm him to change his diet or lifestyle.  Even when he got the diagnosis six years ago of full blown diabetes. It didn’t seem to scare him into making a lifestyle change.  He just wasn’t ready.

The last blood work up before he made his decision for a positive change came in November when his liver enzymes came back out of whack.  And what really got his attention to make a real change was a cat scan.   He had a scan to check for a hernia and instead of finding a hernia they found “Fatty deposits on his liver.”  He had what was called, “Fatty liver disease.”  You kinda need your liver to function.  He had a few more labs taken before surgery and all were a “Fail.”  He failed every category on the sheet!  If that doesn’t get your attention nothing will.  He was a bit nervous on Friday about his lab work, but was confident the results were going to be positive.

He had an appointment with his endocrinologist on Friday.  For days he was anxious about his results.  His goal was to fire his endocrinologist because his blood sugar readings have all been normal since surgery and he has discontinued all diabetes medications.  As he entered the doctor’s office and signed in everyone from the secretary to the nurse to the doctor did a double take.  They wanted to know what happened to Kevin. He was a bit smaller. He proudly said, “I’m four weeks post gastric bypass.”  They all smiled and congratulated him on his weight loss.  As he stepped on the scale he weighed in at 228!  The last time he weighed in a little over 280!  Amazing he has lost almost 60 lbs. in the past three months and continues to drop.

The nurse was so happy she gave placed a gold star on his shirt (which he proudly sported home).  When the doctor entered the room he could not believe this was the same person sitting on the table.  He was amazed at the weight loss.  He was even more amazed at all his reports.  They were nearly perfect!!  His A1C level was 6.1 (which means there is an increased risk for diabetes). However, he missed the normal range by a few fractions.  The normal A1C level is less than 5.7!  The last lab report stated his A1C level was 9.1!  Major difference.  All other labs were in the normal range.  His Cholesterol was 177, previously 298, liver enzymes reading were remarkable. His AST was 23, previous reading 50, and ALT 28, previously it was 84. This was the big one! He was ecstatic by the results along with the Doctor!  He couldn’t believe what he was reading. The new bold message at the bottom of his lab work read, “BELOW AVERAGE RISK.”  We are so grateful for the entire Bariatric Team at Sebastian River Medical Center.  They have touched and forever changed our lives!

Wellness is the key to Riches Week 3 Post Bariatric Surgery: Dumping is not fun

If you want to live a healthy lifestyle it’s imperative to dump your unhealthy habits. It’s easy to develop bad habits. It’s hard to change our bad habits and once changed even harder to maintain the good ones.  Kevin had an experience this past Friday he wishes to not repeat. He was excited to have his first round of blood work since his surgery in the hopes his A1C levels were down to less than 5.7%; aka normal meaning his diabetes is in full remission. Since his surgery he has discontinued all his diabetes medications and his daily blood sugar levels have been normal. This is the good news, great actually.

lost seven pounds since last week. started the week at 237 pounds

June 2nd, 2016 — Week 3
[230 lbs]

However, on Friday his excitement soon turned to dread. His blood work consisted of fasting that morning. I knew if he didn’t eat he would crash. I suggested he take a protein drink with him to the lab so he could get something in his stomach after the blood draw. He said, “Yep that’s what I was planning to do.” I replied, “Cool!”  Needless to say, he forgot his protein drink! Not a good idea. By the time he arrived home it was after 10 a.m. He was in a hurry to log back into his computer for work, but he was starving. He quickly grabbed a protein drink and in a matter of less than a minute downed it! He was still feeling hungry after the protein drink and ate a spoonful or two of cottage cheese. Which was a very big NO, NO! His brain said, “I can do this, eat fast, eat standing up, and eat on the run. I know what I’m doing.” His new stomach disagreed, and said, “Oh, what did I just do? I feel sick!” Houston we had a major problem!

We were reminded at every doctor appointment the consequences of keeping the old habits of shoving food down, eating while standing, and eating on the run. The doctor looked him in the eye and said, “You will never eat the same again. You can never put too much all at once in your stomach or it will cause a dumping syndrome.” Dumping syndrome is when you put too much in your stomach at once and it all comes back up, and you dump what you’ve just eaten. He’s been reminded to take it slow and enjoy his food. He is still eating puree food until July 1st so his stomach is still relatively new. He can’t do what he did with his “old” stomach as what he’s doing with his “new” stomach. When I arrived home from work and saw he looked a bit green I asked, “Are you ok?” He said, “No. I just got a taste dumping syndrome.” His stomach hurt, it was too full, he was vomiting, and some heaving for about 1-2 hours. He realized his old habits of grabbing food and downing it was no longer an option.

Old habits are hard to break.   The brain says, “Go ahead. It will be ok You’ve done this before.” But the body says, “Hey, you have a new stomach and it’s not ok.” If you want to make changes you have to follow all the rules. Rule number 1: Eat slowly. Rule number 2: Eat at the table sitting down. Rule number 3: Eat small amounts, and rule number 4: remember your protein drink before leaving the house for lab work. Dumping the old habits are not fun, but you can learn to retrain your brain and implement good eating habits.  Your health is the key to life’s riches.






Week 2: Post Bariatric Surgery: Exercise is Fun

What do you do for exercise? Is it fun or a drag? During the pre-operative consults the bariatric team couldn’t stress enough how important exercise is for the healing process of surgery and maintence of you body weight. Lucky for us we had been exercising regularly before bariatric surgery was even an option. Everyday since the surgery has been an adventure and learning process. It’s amazing how this surgery could change a life or even two.

lost eight pounds since last week.   started the week at 245 pounds

May 26th 2016 — Week 2
[237 lbs]

Not only has it changed Kevin’s life by his 50 lb. weight loss since December 2015 but has changed mine. I am even more convinced exercise is key! As a therapist clients come for help with depression, anxiety, and addiction issues (just to name a few). I ask this important question during the assessment phase: “What do you do for exercise and what diet do you follow if any?” Most people look at me like I have a horn growing out of my head when they hear the word exercise. Some will say, “I joined a gym but don’t have time to go, or the real answer is I don’t have time to exercise. Exercise has so many benefits and it can be fun, and you do have time.

Kevin’s recovery time from bariatric surgery, a hernia repair, and liver biopsy has been remarkable. He bounced back in just two to three days. Here we are at week 2 and he has already been out doing yard work (which he really shouldn’t be doing), but he says he feels great! He even looks great. To be honest I’m super proud of him. He’s come a long way. However, his speedy recovery time is because he has been on a consistent exercise program for the past 5 years. The last year has been a bit challenging and he slowed down a lot but he still kept at it.

For the past 5 years we trained for several half marathons, 10k’s, and 5k’s. Last year we ran four half marathons. We always had a goal to work toward and that kept us motivated. We were always on a training program, and it was fun! Having a training buddy makes it even more fun. Sometimes we have the best conversations during our exercise time. I have heard many people say, “Wow, I can’t even walk one mile.” To be honest neither could we when we first started! Heck, we got winded just walking to the mailbox and back. I tell people if you want to do it, you can. Anyone can!

2 Weeks Post Surgery Pineapple 5K, Stuart, FL

2 Weeks Post Surgery
Pineapple 5K,
Stuart, FL

Here we are two and a half weeks post surgery and we ran a 5K yesterday. We had the best run in a long time and Kevin felt and looked fantastic. It was exhilarating. The energy and support of the crowd and the people you meet on the course are all incredible. It makes you want to keep moving! And that’s what it’s all about, to just keep moving. When you move chemicals are released from your brain down to your toes and you feel great! The depression lifts and anxiety decreases. Exercise is all a mindset and disciple. So, get out there move and have fun in the process!



Week 1: Post Bariatric Surgery: Mindful Eating

Last week I gave a short background of how we reached the decision for gastric bypass surgery. There is more to the process than just making the decision for weight loss surgery. This was one of the most major decisions in our life. We both learned lessons on how to take care of our body, mind, and soul through this process. Even though I said the reason behind the surgery in the first place was the “failed liver panel” and the CAT scan that showed a “Fatty liver.” Now those events got his attention to make some serious changes.   The surgery itself was very successful and his energy has returned so much that I have a hard time keeping up with him. So week one has been somewhat uneventful, nonetheless it’s been a huge change and learning curve.

lost five pounds since surgery.   Entered the hospital at 250 pounds

May 19th 2016 — Week 1
[245 lbs]

On Monday Kevin had ditched all the pain medication and was feeling fantastic. He went back to work and looked and felt like he hadn’t skipped a beat. If you saw him you would never know he had surgery a few days ago. He was feeling that well. The changes when he came home were clear it was still going to be an uphill battle with food and the consumption of it. During the past week Kevin needed a few gentle reminders to take it slow…Not to rush drinking his protein drink, or Gatorade, and water. There is a reprogramming that has to happen. The surgery is a tool to begin reprogramming how you eat, how much you consume, and how you feel about food in general. This is where we need to be mindful of our eating habits.

In order to be mindful you must pay close attention to what is put to your lips. Rule of thumb is protein first. The protein will fill you up and satisfy you. You won’t get the cravings of wanting more shortly after finishing a meal that is heavy in carbohydrates. The protein takes a while to digest, where the carbs will leave you hungry and wanting more. To be mindful of what you eat ask yourself, “Did I just ingest protein first? Protein comes in many forms. We get protein from meats, chicken, fish, eggs, tuna, dairy, and other sources. You can also get a great amount of protein by mixing up a protein drink with different flavors. One of my favorites is Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries or raspberries. Plus it’s healthy for you and fills you up without wanting more in less than an hour. I use a cool free app on my phone called “Lose it” that helps me track my protein, carb, fat, and calorie intake daily. This has helped me get on track and stay on track. It is now a habit at every meal time to measure how much I’m eating and what nutritional value I’m receiving. It’s being mindful of what you are ingesting. And I have lost weight and feel good.

As for Kevin he has been on the journey of reprogramming his eating habits and becoming more aware and mindful of not just what he eats but how he eats. After surgery and beyond you have to take every bite very slow. Learn to enjoy ever bite of you food. We haven’t reached the point of “real food” yet as we are still on a liquid diet until Thursday. On Thursday we advance to puree’ food for the next 4 weeks, and that comes with more challenges as we begin to re-introduce food into his new stomach and how much is enough.   The point is not to rush and take the process slow. The good news is he is already down 5 pounds this week and I am down 4 lbs. Being mindful of your eating habits is exciting, and wellness is the key to a rich life.



Wellness is the Key to a Rich Life: Post Bariatric Surgery the Road Back

Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice.  It’s a decision and commitment you make to yourself.  It’s a long road but worth it.  As I sit this morning and reflect over the past many years of my life and my husband’s life the struggle to be fit and healthy is real.  Over the life of this blog I will take pieces of our past and weave them into our present life.  I feel it’s important to look back and see what progress has been made.  And as I sit here this morning and write and reflect, write and reflect there has been much progress.  There have been a lot of setbacks as well.  Don’t be discouraged by your setbacks.  It’s the setbacks that help you move forward and progress.

The purpose of this blog is to teach and inspire others to never give up on your goals.  No matter how long it takes you can and will achieve them.  We are living proof.  Last Thursday was a new beginning for Kevin (my husband) and myself.  You see, Kevin has been over weight for most of his life.  The only time he was at an ideal body weight was when he first went into the U.S. Air Force.  In order for him to even be accepted in the Air Force he had to lose over 70 lbs. When we married in July 1982 he hovered around 250 to 260 lbs.   At 19 years of age he was active and in good health.   I remember he inquired about joining the Air Force in August of 1982 and he was told he had two months to drop from 250 lbs. to 180 lbs. He spent the next two months eating only salad and liquids.  He dropped the weight relatively quick.  He was a new Kevin.  He looked fantastic.

He did what he had to do in order to enlist in the military. But,he spent many years struggling to maintain 180 lbs. throughout his ten-year career with the Air Force.  His commander threatened to put him in what they called, “The fat boy program” if he didn’t drop the weight.  His highest weight while in the Air Force was about 225 lbs. And that was just not going to fly.  He continued to struggle and opted to get out after ten years because he really wasn’t as motivated to lose the weight or maintain it.  I have seen him get motivated to lose the weight, and he did.  But the maintenance of the weight was a huge battle.  He simply wasn’t ready to let go of his old habits.   As the years went by his weight crept up back and forth like a yoyo.  We tried all sorts of diets, Paleo, Atkins, weight watchers, you name it.  He would lose some weight but was never able to keep it off.  About eight years ago he decided he wanted to get lap band surgery.  Together we went to the free seminar where they attempted to sell us lap band surgery.  It was a good seminar, learned a lot of techniques to losing weight on our own. We decided against lap band and so glad we did.  Lap band in the past few years has not been a viable option for some people.  Some lost some weight but never actually reached their goals, plus they were sick all the time.    So, we went home and implemented all the great diet and techniques they taught us.  One was the 30/30 rule, which is no drinking anything before meals and waiting 30 minutes after meals.  This worked great.  He dropped about 40 lbs.  He again looked fantastic.

Fast forward about a year and the weight gain came back.  At this point he was frustrated. Five years ago we decided to run/walk half marathons.  We were averaging 3-4 half marathons a year since.  We were consistent in our daily training regimen, but not our diet.  At this point I had gained about 20 lbs. myself.  I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  Again, we were not on the road to health.  It wasn’t until  December 22, 2015 when Kevin went in for a simple cat scan to see if there was a hernia that had been bothering him for more than 15 years.  The cat scan came back negative to a hernia, instead they found ‘Fatty deposits” on his liver!  Well, needless to say that was a shock, especially two days before Christmas.  At this point because of his weight he was a full blown diabetic, now with a fatty liver.  He had been feeling more and more tired over the course of several years.  This was the deciding factor to once and for all do something about his weight issues.

The diagnosis of fatty liver disease scared the be jeepers out of him!  And me.  This was the wake up call to finally get to the bottom of the overweight problem.  He did research on weight loss surgery again and found a center for excellence in Sebastian, Florida. We arrived for another weight loss seminar at Sebastian River medical center on February 23rd, 2016.  As we listened to the Doctor speak about obesity, the struggles of the great American diet, and how they can help us we left with a renewed faith that this was going to help.  I was still a little leery.  Gastric Bypass surgery is no walk in the park, nor is it a magic bullet, or a cure all.  However, it’s a tool to help get rid of all the comorbidities Kevin was experiencing and starting a new life style.  He had made up his mind this is what he wanted.

One week later we met with the doctor who would perform the surgery and consulted with him for over one and half hours.  We went over every nook and cranny of how this works and how to maintain it way after surgery.  He answered all our questions and we had work to do before our next appointment and before we could schedule surgery.  There is a psychological assessment, nutritional meeting, and lots of lab work.  Kevin’s goal was to have the surgery the middle of May.  He just wanted this over and done with. He was tired of doctor appointments, failed lab work, and just plain being tired of the weight.  He was more than ready this time.  Since March of 2016 he has lost over 30 lbs. himself before surgery.  If was funny because everyone he encounters said, “You look great!  You don’t qualify for bypass surgery.”  I guess being 250 lbs. is the new normal standard.

The events leading up to the surgery were exciting and stressful all at the same time.  We knew what the goal was. The goal is to reach that 180 lbs. or less ideal body weight and keep it off.  Last Thursday Kevin had his gastric bypass surgery and is doing well.  He was released from the hospital on Saturday with a strict diet.  For the past 3 days we have been on a clear liquid diet.  Today we graduated to a full liquid diet which consists of 2 protein drinks, water, water, water, and he can begin to add no fat milk products.  This morning we walked 3.5 miles and feeling great!  In the coming weeks, months, and years we will be updating this blog for lots of teaching and inspiration.  It’s all a mindset.  You too can live a healthy lifestyle.  Wellness is the key to a rich life.