Each one of us must answer that question for ourselves. For some it is “Stay the course” for others it is “Abandon ship!” and for most it is somewhere in between.
For me, it is all about baby steps.
Making a Plan
Pen by Anna Langova
On January 1st I sat down with my youngest son and had a *brainstorming/planning/goal-setting/dreaming sit down meeting. Ok, maybe it was less formal than that. It was more like a sit in the recliners with our notepads and a couple of pens to chat about what we wanted to accomplish personally and professionally in 2016.
We started with a main theme and then separated it into different categories which then went into more detail as we worked on the first three months of the year. We called these our action steps. What good is a dream if you don’t take action to turn that dream into a reality?
We discussed each step as we went along. The sharing and discussion of our plans was helpful in many ways. Writing it down is one thing, but speaking it out loud and hearing it said gave us a sense of taking action. We were able to offer suggestions and new ideas were formed.
Why am I sharing this with the Health Fitness Beauty Quest readers? When I think of 2015, I think of it as a year of extremes. From cycling across deserts and mountains to months of sitting in hospital rooms while my youngest son battled a brain tumor. My personal health and fitness went from being at the peak adult shape of my life to back where I was in September of 2013 when the Health Fitness Beauty Quest began.
Being back where I started physically is a tough pill to swallow. Yet, while I may be in the shape I was in two years ago, my knowledge base of what it takes to be healthy, fit and beautiful is powerfully strong. I know exactly what it takes to get back to my prime physical shape. And you know what they say, “Knowing is half the battle”. (Thanks G.I. Joe cartoons for that gem.)
So, my theme for 2016 is: Getting Back to Basics
This means back to recording my meals, logging fitness activities and making myself responsible for my success or lack thereof. I know I’m not alone in my goal for a healthier and more fit 2016. There is a wave of energy towards making a positive healthy change at this time of the year. Let’s get together in person or virtually to encourage, challenge and cheer on one another toward reaching our health and fitness goals.
Thank you for joining me for the National Podcast Post Month Version of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Show which for the next 30 days will be more of a daily audio digest.
On today’s episode, I give the background of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. It all began in September 2013. I was 44 years old at the time. That year, like many before, I was wider and less healthy than the year before. In my family we are long-lived and based on the way I was living things weren’t looking favorable on that front.
I wanted to transform my life into one of a healthy lifestyle, but that was also something I had thought every year. So, I knew I would need accountability. By blogging, podcasting, posting videos and sharing progress on social media I was able to take my size 16 179lbs into a size 8 148lbs in 16 months.
The next stage of my quest was to ride my bicycle across the country starting in San Diego, CA and ending in St. Augustine, FL. A distance of over 3,000 miles. On March 31st 2015 the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Bike Tour began. I was very please to have sponsors and individual donations to support the bike tour. Sponsors like: Team RISE UP! Global, Educating for Success, Tourism Currents, Ivita Botanicals, Ventana Media Group and more.
Many folks know about how the tour was cut short in Deming, NM due to my youngest son ill health. He was part of the Support Team and ,came down will what we thought was, severe altitude sickness. We soon discovered that his headaches and nausea were actually due to a brain tumor. Six months later and I am very happy to report that he is on the mend after receiving treatment.
So, what does all of this have to do with the Health Fitness Beauty Quest? Well from the time we discovered my youngest son’s diagnosis, I have led a life that was the opposite of health and fitness. I went from cycling mountains and traversing deserts to little to no movement at all sitting in the hospital at my son’s bedside. Talk about doing a fitness 180º turn! I also discovered I am what you might call a stress eater. Let me tell you that when life hits you something that life altering, it’s stressful.
I jumped on the scale recently and it turns out I am almost right back where I was in September 2013…..not quite…almost. It is a bit frustrating to see the current state of my health and fitness. Which tells me many things. First of all, I need to get back to what I know works. Cycling, walking, tracking my eating and fitness. I also know I need to share this setback and the state of things in my health and fitness in order to have you hold me accountable.
Which is why NaPodPoMo is a perfect time to restart the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. Tomorrow, I will share some of the strategies I plan on implement which includes allowing you daily access to my nutrition and fitness. What better way to stay on track than to share the good, the bad and the ugly?
They say it takes 30 days to create a new habit or break a bad one. By the time November 30th rolls around, I hope to have done both.
As you have probably surmised by now, the bike tour has been on hold for the last few months. In previous posts, Facebook and Twitter, I shared the story of stopping the tour in Deming, NM to bring my youngest son (Jordan) home to San Antonio. He was suffering from what we believed to be a severe case of altitude sickness. Lower altitude and some wellness visits over two weeks saw an improvement, but a milder form of the headaches and occasional nausea lingered.
Finally on May 7th a CT Scan of his head showed us something very unexpected. There was a mass in his brain which was not allowing the fluid in his brain to drain normally. Which was why he was sensitive to the pressure at high altitudes or the increased barometric pressure when a storm was approaching. We were told to rush him to the ER where bloodwork and more scans were done. He was quickly ushered up to Neuro-ICU and from that day forward the entire focus has been on his recovery.
We later discovered the mass in his brain was a Germ Cell Tumor. His particular diagnosis was Pineal Germinoma. It is not common for germ cell tumors to happen in the brain, but the good news was a treatment plan of chemotherapy and radiation has a 90% cure rate. As far as tumors go this was great news. So, for the months of May, June and July, Jordan received chemotherapy treatments in hospital. Then after a 3 week break he started on out-patient radiation treatments in late August.
The last 6 months have been a time of extremes. The whirlwind of medical terms were overwhelming. Making life decisions based on the little we understood on little sleep and coffee. Once he was stabilized they began chemo treatments. Which in and of itself is physically demanding. Then the hospital infections set in. We faced one crisis after another all for being in the hospital. To say we were frustrated would be one of the biggest understatements yet. Then 30 days after it all began he was all enough to come home. It was great to be out of the hospital, but Jordan was so weak from all the infections he contracted while at the hospital.
The biggest kicker to it all was that none of the infections had anything to do with his brain tumor. You’ve heard the saying, “The longer you stay in the hospital, the more likely it is that you will stay in the hospital” well they aren’t kidding. Overall, it was a nightmare. However, there were bright spots in the long ordeal. We did have some good nurses who were dedicated and compassionate. However, there were also nurses who were “phoning it in”. The rub is that all it takes is one of the “phoning it in” nurses to derail your health. I won’t name names, but I totally should. If you followed my story on Twitter and Facebook, then you already know which hospital facility is the culprit.
Needless to say we transferred his care to another hospital, University Hospital. This is where Jordan’s care took a huge uptick. We were gun-shy after our last experience. So, when it was time for round two of chemo, we were preparing for everything to go wrong. Guess how many things went wrong? None. Not a single thing. We were amazed. You mean Jordan could go in for chemo for the brain tumor and NOT wind up with every kind of terrible infection under the sun that has nothing to do with what he was getting treated for? Wow. We were thrilled with the care Jordan received form the entire medical team at University Hospital. His third and final round of chemo went off without a hitch as well. The care Jordan has been receiving from University Hospital and CTRC (Cancer Therapies Research Center) has been absolutely wonderful.
What Happened Next?
Then it was time for radiation treatments. The oncology teams at CTRC led by Dr. Andrew Brenner and Dr. Richard Crownover were kind, caring, patient and highly knowledgeable. They answered every question and gave us lots of information on his radiation treatment as well as potential side effects.
We saw improvement in Jordan’s health with each passing treatment. Radiation was less stressful and taxing on his body than chemotherapy. Which after 3 months of chemo was a nice change. Radiation treatments were scheduled for 5 1/2 weeks. But during one of his weekly meetings with Dr. Crownover, who oversaw the radiation treatment, we learned that Jordan has responded so well to chemo that they were shortening his treatment by 1 1/2 weeks. To say were were thrilled by this unexpected news would be putting it mildly. A followup meeting with Dr. Brennar who is Jordan’s Neuro-Oncologist, gave us even better news. For the first time since all of this began we saw the post-chemo MRI. I don’t think I’ll ever forget these words, “The chemo melted the tumor.”
The Wonderful Oncology Team
Then one day in a much quieter and more pleasant fashion than it all started, Jordan’s treatments were over. He received a Radiation Treatment Graduation Certificate and we celebrated. The weight of the world seemed to lift off our shoulders. We felt light, airy and we couldn’t stop smiling all day.
We have been told it will take some time for his body to fully heal and recover from such a traumatic ordeal. Which makes sense. What happened to Jordan didn’t happen overnight. Nor did the chemo and radiation treatments. In the meantime, we are very happy to keep our lives simple and quiet. Allowing him all the time he needs to heal.
So Very Grateful
Through the whirlwind of medical activity, we were blessed to have so many of our friends both in person and online praying and sending Jordan positive vibes. We felt the outpouring of love during many of our most challenging times. Support from the time he first entered the hospital to encouragement during the frustrating weeks of hospital complications to cheering him on when he finally was able to come home.
We are extremely grateful to our immediate family. They prayed, laughed and cried with us during all the highs and lows. Their love and support are the rock from where we have drawn our strength.
Overall, Jordan and I feel humbled by everyone’s care, kind words, cards in the mail, tweets, Facebook posts, texts and calls. Just to know you were thinking about us, even when we have been so withdrawn from the world, warmed our hearts.
A special word of thanks to Penny Muckleroy who is an independent distributor for USANA Health Sciences and Amy Aubry who is an independent distributor for Young Living Essential Oils. The nutritional supplements and essential oils they provided Jordan over the last six months were of great comfort. I wish I could elaborate on this more, but for regulatory reasons can not. I will say that I highly recommend speaking with both of these ladies and not just because I am also associated with both companies.
What Ever Happened to Roger and Susan?
Roger and Susan weren’t too keen on ending their tour early either. So, they decided to restart their tour on September 16th. They flew into Austin, TX which gave Jordan, Jonathan, Ladybird and I a chance to meet with them before they pedaled off to Florida. Follow their journey by subscribing to their blog: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Southern
What’s Next for the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Bike Tour?
Let’s backtrack a bit to early May: During the time we were in San Antonio before we found out about the tumor in Jordan’s head, Roger and Susan were pedaling their way through Texas. Since they were in Texas and approaching my neck of the woods, I attempted to rejoin them in Brackettville, TX. However, on the day I met up with them, Roger was admitted into the hospital in Del Rio. He wound up canceling the rest of the tour due to health complications. That left me riding the tour solo fully loaded from Brackettville, TX to Boerne, TX. I rode 4 days for a total of 120 miles. Not too shabby for riding loaded with all my gear for the first time. Look for a detailed post of the ride from Bracketville, TX to Boerne, TX in an upcoming post.
Flash forward to today. With so much uncertainty over the last six months, I wasn’t sure when I could seriously look at continuing the tour. I knew there would be a point when I would be back on the road. My current estimate is an April 2016 Health Fitness Beauty Quest Bike Tour Part II restart. There are a couple of options: Begin where I first left the tour and make up the miles from Deming, NM to Brackettville, TX. The idea would be to find a group riding the Southern Tier and join them in Deming. Another option is to pick up the tour from my last ride point of Boerne, TX and then make up the missing Deming to Bracketville miles in Florida by cycling down to the Florida Keys. I’m sure you can guess which option sounds more appealing. I will share details as tour plans come together.
So, that is the last 6 months in a single post nutshell. Thank you for continuing to follow the journey and supporting us during such an unexpected detour. There is still so much more to come. Cheers!
Here is an update post on the off chance you’ve been wondering what’s been happening during the bike tour intermission. The first priority was to do everything possible to get Jordan back to full health. We took him to see Dr. Q. at Pinnacle Wellness for several chiropractic visits with neck and shoulder muscle therapy treatments as well as an infrared sauna session. With each visit his health improved. This was combined with rest, hydration and specific nutritional supplements from our Health Coach, Penny Muckleroy of Your Wellness Plan.
In the meantime, I was coming to the realization that I would need to transition the tour from supported to self-supported. I had always known that Jonathan would only be with us through April. It had always been the plan for the tour continue with Jordan, Ladybird and myself. However, with the severe sickness Jordan experienced we decided that it would be best for him to stay home and for me to continue the tour solo.
Roger and Susan continued riding the Southern Tier when we left them in Deming, NM. Each day they rode was another day they were getting closer to me in San Antonio, TX. While I was chomping at the bit to get back on the road, the priority was Jordan. I knew that once Jordan was back to good health I would rejoin the tour.
Riding self-supported meant that I would need to figure out how to take all of the clothes, cosmetics, bike repair supplies/tools, emergency food and a sleeping bag on my bike. At first I thought about stuffing it all into a backpack. I had researched ultra-light bike touring a few months ago and knew it was possible. We had even run into two young German bicycle tourists in Alpine, CA who were riding the Southern Tier with backpacks. However, when I tried fitting everything into my backpack, I discovered this would not work for me at all.
The next logical step was to find a rear bike rack which would fit on my Trek 1.2 road bike. I was thrilled when my local BikeWorld had one in stock that fit my bike perfectly. My plan was to bungee the waterproof bag that contained my clothes with my sleeping back onto the top of the bike rack. The salesman at BikeWorld told me I really needed to look into bags for the rear rack. Roger also expressed concern about me being able to bring everything I would need for a self-supported tour unless I had bags. Luckily, I remembered Henry Parrilla from Bike Seven had mentioned his bike touring adventures when we took his bike mechanics class before the start of the tour. I contacted Henry and he did indeed have some bags I could borrow for the trip. My road bike now looks more like a proper touring bike.
At this point with Jordan now back to his happy-go-lucky healthy self, it is time to get the show back on the road. Roger and Susan will be in Del Rio, TX in a couple of days. I have my bike packed, prepped and ready. I weighed the load that will be on the rear rack of my bike and am happy to report that I am coming in at just under 20lbs. This is really great news for me because that means I am not having to pedal too much additional weight and my aluminum road bike can still deliver a relatively nimble ride.
When I left the tour on April 18th, I wasn’t sure how long the intermission would last. Originally, I thought a couple of days at the most. I had no idea I would be gone for 10 days. I have missed riding 117 miles of map 2 and all of map 3 (496.5 miles). Roger and Susan’s actual map 3 mileage is less than the 522 miles of the Adventure Cycling Association’s Southern Tier Official Route. We stopped following ACA maps whenever it took us to scenic mountain routes. I think the terror filled ride from Superior, AZ to Miami, AZ cured us of any need to ever ride narrow mountain roads. I think Roger said it best, “If we really want to see the mountain views we can always rent a car and drive through them.” Susan and I whole-heartedly agreed and happily went off-route on flatter roads with wide shoulders.
Truth be told, map 3 was the section of the map that I was looking forward to riding the most in Texas. I love the Ft. Davis, Marfa, Alpine area. It’s one of my favorite getaway locations in Texas and I make trips as often as possible. The idea or riding up to the McDonald Observatory and down to historic Ft. Davis really appealed to me. Another section on map 3 that would have been a highlight was the huge bridge that crosses the Pecos River. The view is stunning and I was excited about the challenge of riding up that steep bridge. When it became apparent that I would not be able to meet Susan and Roger until they made it into Del Rio, TX I knew that I would have to make up that section of the map another time.
There was a part of me that considered going back to Deming, NM to complete the tour riding solo. That was quickly put out of consideration after mentally reviewing my tour experience riding thus far. I know that traveling with a group even a small group is much safer. There is more of a chance that drivers will see you if there are more of you to see. With the summer heat fast approaching, it looks like a ride from San Antonio, TX to Del Rio, TX and up to Deming, NM will be in order sometime during the fall months. It’s my plan to go back to the Crazy Guy on a Bike site to join a group traveling west along the Southern Tier to complete my journey.
So, there you have it. The summary of what’s been going on since the bike tour intermission began. The riding fun is about to start up again. You have no idea how much I’ve missed riding. I have been living vicariously through Roger and Susan’s daily posts on their journal. Now it’s time for me to start experiencing the open road as I pedal the rest of the 1,682.5 miles of the ACA Southern Tier.
From the time the idea for the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Cross-Country Bike Tour was hatched, I knew it would take serious preparation in order to take the dream and turn it into a reality. Beyond training there was the logistics of pulling together a two-month event. From making the decision to travel solo on a self-supported tour to joining an existing group of riders or riding with a support team vehicle.
Initially, my plan was to take two months off to ride self-supported with a group of 2-3 cyclists. However, the deeper I dug into everything that could be captured on the tour, (audio/video interviews, live audio/video diaries) the more I realized that cycling with a support team was the only way to tell the story fully. With a support team I could share the two month experience with the followers of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest in a way that was not possible on a solo trek. So, my new plan became riding cross-country to celebrate the everyday athlete and bike tourism all while maintaining my business. Having a support team allows me to do all that and do it well.
Support Team and Partners
Jordan and Jonathan, Support Team and Videographers
I am also pleased to announce that my two sons offered to become the vehicle support team. Jonathan and Jordan have been my biggest champions and frequently join me for what we call “family adventures.” They will not only drive the support vehicle but will also be the video production crew. They have both worked Social Media Lounge video interviews events with me through the years. They are well versed in both livestreaming and recorded video. The only difference now will be that the Social Media Lounge is 8 states across the entire southern portion of the United States.
The more I talked about the tour the more folks I had who were interested in becoming partners of the tour. These partners offer both sponsorship and in-kind donations. Both of which will go a long way towards make the bike tour successful. I have been blessed to have some fantastic folks jump in to sponsor the tour. There will be detailed information in a more in-depth future post.
You’re Doing What?!
Is the reaction most folks have when they learn of the bike tour. The tag that I have on my social media profile starts with “Living the Dream!” To me living the dream is a way of thinking, living, being. It isn’t something you wait to do when you retire or when you hit the lotto. It is in the now. The now for me means being able to do something I’ve dreamed of all while running my business and sharing the experience with my sons. We can all do this. I hope to be an inspiration to folks who have been waiting for the someday in their lives. “Someday, I will….” That someday could be now or next week or even next year. Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do, just go out and make it a reality.
Sharing The Story
One of the things I enjoy is sharing the story. Going deeper into a subject and learning by asking questions. What this usually means is that I can frequently be found interviewing people with my phone in hand recording each and every word. It’s fun and my clients and interviewees appreciated the multimedia dynamic. After all, who can tell a story better than the person who is living it?
This is where the idea for adding a multimedia element to the tour came into play. As I travel through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida I will stop to interview everyday athletes and learn more about what small towns and big cities are doing to promote bike tourism along the Southern Tier.
You may be wondering, “When will you have time to ride and conduct interviews?” My plan is to ride a very manageable 40-60 miles per day. Which averages to about 4-6 hours a day with rest days every 5-6 days. This leaves plenty of time for recouping during ride days with days off to conduct interviews.
Where You Step In
Want to be a part of the journey? There are all manner of things we have on a tour list. Some of them are crucial and others would make the tour easier to ride and capture.
If you feel inspired to join us or become one of our partners to ensure we have everything we need to make the tour a rousing success then click on over to our here to learn more. Either way we hope that you will continue to cheer me on and be accountability partners as we embark on the latest adventure of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest.
On January 1st many of us set New Year’s Resolutions. We resolve to do better. Do more of the things that are good for us (health, fitness, financial) and less of the things that are not so good for us (poor food choices, sedentary living, frivolous spending). The model of success I have found through the Health Fitness Beauty Quest has been one of adding. The focus has never been about taking away, but one of incorporating more of the things that are better for me.
By adding better food choices such as an apple before a breakfast taco or a salad before a burger, I found the cravings for poor food choices naturally minimize and were even deleted from my daily meal options. This does not mean I forgo pizza or burgers or tacos. What it does mean is that those types of food options have fallen into the few and far between meals. I simply do not care to eat them as often as I did in the past.
In 2014, I added neighborhood walks, interval treadmill sessions, hiking and gym circuit training to my cycling and swimming. I was surprised to discover how quickly my body responded to mixing up my fitness routine. It took less time to loose inches and gain strength when I varied my workouts. By adding more movement and changing the types of exercise I was doing I saw bigger results.
I went big when it came to beauty. I added monthly facials, had an abdominal awake lipo procedure, incorporated a morning and evening beauty regimen and learned more about how to care for myself than I had in all my adult life. I not only learned about beauty care, but I stuck to it day after day, month after month. It’s one thing to learn something, but it is an entirely different thing to see it through day in and day out.
Although nutritional supplements are not part of my blog title, they have played an important supporting role in each aspect of my health, fitness and beauty. In 2014, I became a part of the #1 nutritional supplement company in the world. Incorporating nutritional supplements to my daily routine was another I found to move my quest forward. By joining the company I also added another stream of income to my business.
As I look back on 2014, I see a year of transition and transformation. I took my life back from the unhealthy version of myself and staked a claim for the new healthy, fit and beautiful version of myself that will live out the rest of my adventure-filled days.
One week ago today, I started the RESET Weight Loss Challenge. As an Independent Distributor for USANA Health Sciences, I wanted to see how this particular product worked. I have been extremely pleased with the results I have seen after taking USANA’s nutritional supplements that I wondered how well their other products performed.
Here are the results from my 5 day challenge: -6 lbs. I began the morning of day 1 at 157lbs and wound up at 151lbs on the morning of day 6. The results have made me even more of a believer in the products that have now become a daily part of my family’s lives.
Here is my recap video:
If you would like to lose an average of *4 1/2-5lbs over 5 days, contact Jennifer via email or Twitter to join the RESET Weight Loss Challenge.
*Individual results may vary. Disclosure: As of 7/31/2014 Jennifer Navarrete became a USANA Health Sciences Independent Distributor. Disclaimer: Always consult a doctor before beginning any weight loss, diet or fitness program.
When I signed up to become an Independent Distributor for USANA, they sent me a box of all kinds of goodies. From nutritional supplements to skin care to snack bars. One thing that piqued my interest was a glossy box that had the word RESET on top. When I opened it I discovered there was a 5 day weight loss system inside. Individual packets of Nutrimeal, Essential Supplements, Snack Bars and a RESET Success Guide.
I have been pretty happy with my existing healthy weight loss program of being physically active and smart eating. However, the claim of loosing 4.5-5lbs by the 5th day had me intrigued. So, in the interest of being product knowledgeable, I figured it might be a good idea to give it a whirl. After all, how can I talk about the products unless I have experience with them? Or at least that is what I told myself I was doing.
Like everything else on this journey, I figured sharing the experience with you would be another way to keep me accountable. Here is a pic of my starting weight of 157lbs. I will be posting pics each day on Twitter so we can all see how well it does or doesn’t work.
Here is the video I created for the first day:
Not one to go it alone, I invited my mom and a friend to join me. Let me know if you’re interested in joining us for your own healthy RESET. I will keep you informed of the progress and write an update post on day five. Wish us luck!
The month of September marks the Health Fitness Beauty Quest one year anniversary. It is hard to believe so much time has passed. I look back at everything learned over the last 12 months and realize just how much has changed. When I started on this journey, I had no idea where it would take me. My hopes were to discover a healthier and fitter version of myself. As a self-proclaimed “Tomboy Techie”, I also was curious to discover more about the world of beauty.
For those of you who have followed my journey, I give you my heartfelt thanks. Your words of encouragement and support have been invaluable to me. The knowledge that you were cheering me on and holding me accountable have been a large part of my success.
I really do feel fantastic after a year of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. It has been an incredible year and I am extremely grateful to each one of you. Your tweets, comments, likes and shares online have gone a long way towards keeping me on track. The face-to-face conversations, phone calls, hugs and texts warmed my heart, lifted my spirits and fueled my workouts. I have always felt I was in partnership with you on this journey.