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Oprah says, “Don’t Be Attached to the Outcome . . . .” AHA! What about you and your “Goals?” . . .

$T2eC16ZHJHYE9nzpebcPBQwlkrIDOQ~~60_57When you have done everything that you can do, surrender. Give yourself up to the power and energy that’s greater than yourself  . . . and then don’t be attached to the outcome.”

When I read this last night in the January issue of O (Oprah) Magazine, I had one of her “Aha!” moments. For “attaching myself to the outcome” was exactly the thing I’ve always done. I’ve always been goal-oriented, driven, conscientious, competitive—nothing wrong with those traits, but when “attaching myself to the outcome” of my work, I create a never-ending river of rapids where, despite what I believe, I am not in control, and in fact outside forces and circumstance are completely in control of me as I hurtle from rock to rock, place to place, every so often my head above water, but so often I’m barely able to catch my breath.

In my life as a published author, this manifests itself as: I write the best books I know how with sincere love and hope and a whole lot of hard work and sacrifice. Where I attach myself to the outcome is when I angst and worry and make myself half-sick (or wholly sick) that I’m not achieving some “Desired Outcome” such as a literary prize, or a best seller list, or a review in some Big Magazine, or high on some ranking, etc etc etc—those are things for which I really have little control, so I’m tumbling willy nilly 084down those rapids, trying to grab onto slippery rocks (and banging myself up in the process), or grabbing at things just out of my reach. I attach my self worth to some outcome, instead of to what I have already achieved. I do not live in the Right Now where I see each step I make, each tiny,  or large, goal that I achieve in that moment as a success, as a part of my journey–I have not been paying attention, living my life for the moment. Everything has been about attaching myself to the OUTCOME–some faraway thing I’m hurtling towards.

What Oprah said so resonated with me, I felt my innards relax, gave myself permission to let go. It helps that I was ready for this statement, because already I’d been letting some things go, already assessing my life as an author, a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a friend. How many moments have I lost because I did not pay attention to the Right Now and instead kept looking so very far ahead? Well, actually, that’s still never-ending-circle thinking! Instead, I think, “Right now, I’m feeling happy to share this AHA moment with you.”

valerie-bertinelli-1-290x218What about how goal-oriented we are when it comes to fitness and healthand our weight? I mean, it’s all goal-oriented in the weight-loss field isn’t it? Actor Before; Actor After—everyone sees the outcome of the actor’s work on Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, and let the games begin as you look at the “After” and say, “I want that! That’s what I want!” All the betweens for this person are unknown or forgotten.

But what if you didn’t attach yourself to the outcome? What if you didn’t attach some self-worth to the end-goal? What if you said to yourself, “Right now, this moment, I can’t control some future outcome—I don’t know what the future will bring. However! I can control the Right Now.” What if you lowered the FUTURE stakes by concentrating on the RIGHT NOW stakes.

When you say, for example, “I want to be healthy, in shape, and lose fifty pounds,” you are thinking of OUTCOME—the End Goal, some Thing that is off into the future. What if

Rainbows are right now; pots of gold are some goal where you miss the rainbow in the searching

Rainbows are right now; pots of gold are some goal where you miss the rainbow in the searching

you changed that to say, “Right now, I am going to go to the gym.” You go to the gym. At the gym you say, “Right now, I am going to jump on the treadmill and walk/run/walk-run.” Then you do it. You step off the treadmill and say, “I feel pretty good. Right now, I’m going to do some yoga/pilates/weights/stretching.” And you do it. You go home and you feel great, so Right Now you eat a sensible meal with some protein and carb. You say, “Right now, I’m going to eat an apple for dessert.” Who wants to think, “I can never have dessert again!” Bleah! BORING! UNREALISTIC! But, “Right now, I’m going to eat an apple for dessert,” is manageable, right?

Each thing you do, you do In The Moment, not thinking of outcomes, not basing your worth on some future goal, but on each goal no matter how small it may seem. You celebrate every small thing, or large thing, that you do and live in the RIGHT NOW.

Perhaps when you tell yourself, “Right now I’m going to go for a walk;” “Right now I’m not going to eat that candy bar;” “Right now I’m going to go to the gym and work out;” “Right now I’m happy because I lost a pound;” “Right now I’m happy because I was able to walk up the stairs without gasping for air;” “Right now I feel really great because I played catch with my kids/grandkids;” “Right now I look kick-ass in these jeans that I am able to now button,” you give yourself permission to live your life as it unfolds, in incremental joys, instead of always looking ahead and feeling frustrated because you Aren’t There Yet.

Stay in the moment(s) you are in. Enjoy your life RIGHT NOW. Celebrate every little, and big, moment in this Right Now.

How do you think that would feel? To live in the Right Now? Not to attach your happiness, your self-worth, your life on some outcome, but to let go of that and live your live in the moments? Why not give it a try?

DSC_0109 Right now, I am going to watch the rain fall on the smoky mountains and the birds flocking to the feeders.

Testosterone therapy, really? Yes, really. Menopause don’t gots to suck, y’allses

Pardon us, Men’fo’k whist we talk about menopause–although, maybe you will be interested in reading on for your own reasons, huh?

I was lucky to have had a fairly easy segue to menopause, even though I reached it earlier than I thought I would. And while part of my “easy” experience may be genes, it is also because I exercise and eat healthfully.

Still, reaching menopause sent me into a panic. I remember thinking: I can’t have any more children! Well, I wasn’t planning on it anyway *haw!,* but the idea that this life-giving part of me would be forever gone made me feel “Less than a Woman.” It made me think, “Oh My God! I’m old now! I’m officially OLD! Waaaaaaaah!” Well, guess what? Turns out I feel better and am in better shape than I have been in years. I’m writing and my books are being published. I’m speaking before groups. I hike; I took up photography; I kick my ass on the treadmill and mat work; I travel when I want to; I feel sexy and alive and determined; I am empowered!

Ka-Pow! And we have lift-off!

As with any stage in life, there are changes we cannot stop from happening, so we can either embrace our new lives and bodies and move on to the wonderful moments, find a remedy for what may require remedy, OR, we can mope and sob and whine. I quickly disgust and bore myself when I mope and sob and whine, so I embrace (or ignore -teehee) what I can’t or don’t want to change, and I find remedies where needed.

What I simply could not over-look no matter how much I exercised and ate healthfully were brain-fog and a general lack of energy. You know it when you are there, don’t you? As if your head is wrapped in 2ply toilet paper and your legs have weights attached to them—unnnnghhhh, y’all! And as well, I was just on the edge of disinterest in some aspects of my pre-menopause life, and that, my friends, is a place I did not and do not want to go—naw ma’am.

If you feel this way, have you considered you may be low in testosterone? Yes, women naturally have testosterone in our bodies, um hmmm. Yeah, I know, there’s that commercial for men. Well, I don’t want their medicine, for it’s not right for me; I want what is made for my needs as a woman!

What we shouldn’t do!

I didn’t use hormone replacement therapy when I went through menopause, for I like to do things as naturally as I can. But the foggy brain, lack of energy, and “Meh, whatever,” were finally enough to send me scurrying to my gynecologist. After mumbling and forgetting what I was saying and trailing off in the middle of my sentences, my doctor said, “Let’s try testosterone.”

finding balance

She gave me a prescription that I have mixed together at a local pharmacy—you won’t find this at your CVS  or Walgreens, etc, so do your research and find a pharmacy that does compounds—one you trust. I had to find a balance of how much worked for me—you should strive to feel your Best Self.  You want only to replace what has been lost and find that balance.

Of course, as I did, you absolutely must have a conversation with your doctor to find out if it is a viable option for you. What works for one may not work for another. We are wondrous biological machines that require care and respect.Out of curiosity, after taking testosterone replacement for almost two years, I stopped using it. At first I didn’t notice anything as I la tee dah’ed along. But then one day I noticed I felt “off.” The old foggy-head returned and I wasn’t “me.” I began using the compound again and Taaa Daaaa! All back to normal.

C.M. Harris

I’d planned on doing this blog post this week for quite some time now, so it was interesting to pick up my new copy of Oprah Magazine and read an article by author C.M. Harris titled “Not for Men Only,” where she relates how, due to breast cancer, she entered menopause a decade or so earlier than she expected. She writes, “Exhaustion. Excessive sleep. Aching bones. A 20-pound weight gain. Brain fog. Forgetting that sex can be fun.” And while not every woman will experience menopause in the same way, and while some of these “side effects of menopause” may be remedied by diet and exercise, sometimes we do need a little extra help. C.M. Harris did, and so did I.

finding strength

I was heartened to hear of someone else using testosterone and talking about it. I at first found it hard to admit, “I’m taking a male hormone! Wheeeee!” Even I at first wondered, “Will I grow a mustache, bulging muscles, and develop a deep voice?”—and since I already have a deep voice and can tend to be muscular when I work out hard, I was in Yikes mode when contemplating this therapy.

Of course these things have not happened to me. This compound is not like the testosterone you hear that athletes use, or anything near to that. Believe me, I wouldn’t take it if I were going to look and act like some weird altered version of me. Lawdy!

C.M. Harris wrote, “. . . I wonder, now that I’m back to wondering again: If a ‘male’ hormone can make a female feel like a woman, why are so few of us talking about it?”

BINGO! This was one of my favorite parts of the entire article. Testosterone made me feel more like a woman. More like the woman I was before menopause. It gave me back my best life. And, as she writes and I have often wondered, why aren’t we talking about it more?

I think it’s time to open dialogue about just what women are doing to feel better, even if it seems unconventional. And, as

Fierce women feeling strong!

well, to educate and to help each other to feel our best.

What about you? Ever heard of, or tried, testosterone therapy? What do you do to feel The Best You? Do you have anything to share? Tell us your experiences! And it doesn’t have to be only about menopause, y’all!

Wednesday Free4All: I am your guinea pig–Anti-Aging Serums & Peanut Butter & Pens, oh my lawd

All right, y’all. When I’m not writing novels or editing R&T, I’m trying out this and that on my face, and in or on my body, or other products I am curious about. You know as “Personal Trainer Kat” I am all about healthy living, looking and feeling my best. So, I’m back with things I have tried, as your guinea pig. Again, I am not “advertising” any of these, and of course I do not receive any compensation. Shoot, they don’t even know lil ole pea-headed me exists. Just giving you all a “head’s up” on my experiences.

L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm-dang, that’s a long-arse name. Lawdy!

I bought this at our local Waynesville Wal-Mart  after I ripped out and then tried a sample from Oprah Magazine  (who sometimes has these little samples with coupons and I love that). I thought it quite nice, and since they also included a coupon for two dollars off, I bought a jar of it. For 1.7 oz, it’s just under $18.00 (not counting the $2 off I received), and a little goes a long way.

What they say: L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm Face, Neck & Chest Moisturizer is specifically designed to treat and nourish the less-resilient skin of the neck and decollete area. Precious oils, comprised of nourishing essential oils, are combined with skin-strengthening calcium to attract and maintain moisture for firmer, younger-looking skin

What I like: This stuff is great for winter’s walks in the cove, at Lake Junaluska, or hiking. It’s thick enough that it feels as if I have a nice shield against the effects of wind and cold. Hydra-Nutrition does make my skin feel “nourished” -moisturized- and is great for adding a barrier to keep in that moisture.

What I don’t like: Too heavy for under make-up use. Also, if I apply right before bed, I feel as if it is going to rub off on my pillow. I wonder how it will do during more humid summer months.

Once the jar is empty, I’ll have to decide if I will continue it or try out something else. (See Update Note below where I am completely bee-doozled about ounces sizes and pricing–something I should have considered before. Hmmm.)

As an aside, I wish L’Oreal, Olay, and others, would really think about their packaging. I wouldn’t mind buying products using recycled materials (see pens below). How about it Loreal, Olay, and others?

Smuckers All-natural Peanut Butter: I purchase this peanut butter (chunky) at our wonderful local Ingles Supermarket in Waynesville. And folks, let me tell you — I was a die-hard Jiff fan. But, I’ve been cutting way back on the added sugar in my diet, so Smuckers it is. (I can’t remember what I paid, but it’s not out of line from what I’ve paid for other brands.)

What they say: They have the nutritional information up on their website, so consumers can see the fat, sugars, etc, content of this product.

What I love: I love that this peanut butter has only 1g of sugar. I love that its only ingredients are peanuts and some salt. Yes it has fat, all peanut butter does–but, this is a great source of protein and fat that satisfies. Paired with whole grain crackers or bread (or banana or on an apple), it’s a great snack or post/pre-workout meal. I love the natural peanutty taste. It makes the peanut butter I used to eat taste too sweet, so if you like sweetened peanut butter, you may have to alter your taste buds.

What I don’t like: Not a big deal, but you do have to stir this peanut butter before using it, keep it in the fridge, and occasionally re-stir it, for it does become thickened and harder to spread. Although I’m so used to this now, I don’t mind the consistency.

I am hooked on this peanut butter and won’t go back to “regular” — GMR likes the one with added honey.

Dr. Wexler’s MMPi.20 Skin Regenerating Serum: Last year, I received two small free sample sizes of this for a purchase I made for something else from Bath & Body Works.

What they say: No in-office procedures – just noticeable results from a professional grade anti-aging solution. It visibly renews and improves skin inside and out and is clinically shown to firm skin.  MMPi.20™ anti-aging technology blocks the damaging effect of all 20 known MMPs (skin destroying enzymes that break down production of collagen and cause skin to sink, sag, and wrinkle) and prevents the production of new MMPs, correcting the signs of aging you see today and preventing future damage; Boosts skin’s own regenerative powers to diminish the visible signs of aging; visibly reverses the lines, sink and sag.

What I loved: This serum felt absolutely wonderful as I applied it to my skin–silky and smooth, and it made my face feel that way, too. A little goes a long way and that’s always nice. Did it do all it claims? I do receive compliments on my skin, but I did before using this product. I really did like this product, and so did a friend I  let try it out. Since a dermatologist created it, the serum probably does have great ingredients/benefits, however–

What I do not like: This stuff is regularly priced at $150.00–No Way! I ran out of my two samples months ago and have not repurchased. If I’m going to spend that, then I would have to consider a prescription-strength product for “sun damaged” or “anti-aging” or “problem” skin. However, when I checked the last few times, it seems to be perpetually on sale at $65.00.   I mean, dang. But perhaps I am simply out of touch and this price for over-the-counter facial products is the Norm for some women? Or perhaps someone out there has had stunning results and opens their wallet with glee–anyone out there?

NOTE Update: In the middle of the night, after writing up this post for today, I had a sudden thought: “Check out the amount of the product versus the pricing, Kat.” And lo and behold, the product I am now using (Boots No 7, as I talk about below) is only one ounce of product. Dr. Wexler is 3.4 ounces. If I bought Dr. Wexler’s 3.4 ounces at the sale price of $65.00, then the price is about the same for both products! So there you go. This gives me pause. Do I shell out that $65 for a product I thought felt amazing on my face, or buy a product in a smaller amount for less money that feels wonderful but not amazing? This goes to show you, folks, what you think you see isn’t alway what you actually see.  *Must think about this further* I mean, how far are we willing to go to look/feel our best?–are these people laughing all the way to the bank? *Must really think*

I did purchase Boots No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Serum at Asheville Target for about $20 (and, see note update above–only 1 oz, huhn, why didn’t I look at that before?), and it feels great on my skin–again, I will admit Dr. Wexler’s product felt silkier. I have heard good things about Boots No 7, though.

I purchased the tube versus the pump bottle, for did you know if you think you are out of product, you’ve only to cut open the tube and you’ll find inside at least another week’s, and sometimes more, worth? Yup, try it! If you buy the glass pump bottles, it’s hell trying to pull out that last bit.

What they say: No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum has been tested like no other cosmetic anti aging product in an independent 12 month trial. The findings clearly show that it has genuine, long term anti aging benefits. 70% of the volunteers using the product showed a marked improvement in the appearance of photo-aged skin after 12 months of use. This study is the latest step on Boots journey to provide further compelling proof of the performance of its products.

What I like: What I said above.

What I don’t like:  Again–update–only 1 ounce of product . . . dangity.

B2P (Bottle to Pen) Retractable Pen: I bought these at our local Waynesville Staples for about $5 for three.

What they sayAssorted colors: black, blue and red; B2P stands for “Bottle to Pen” – the world’s first recycled pen made from plastic bottles; Vibrant gel ink for smooth, effortless writing; Made from 89.9% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

What I like: I love that they recycled bottles to make these pens! It appeals to  my “use and reuse and reuse again if possible” mentality. They are smooth and easy to write with, especially for someone like me who has to have a pen that glides across the page–I have horrid handwriting because I’m an impatient pen/paper writer and any pulls and tugs irritates me–not so these, smoooooth. And they are refillable!

What I don’t like: What often happens is I’ll buy a pen, love it, and can’t find refills. As well, I don’t know if the refills are made of recycled material. But since I haven’t had to refill yet, I don’t know how easy or difficult it will be to find the refills.

I would buy again–I adore pens and never have enough of them! These B2P pens are for “around the house” and tossing in my purse/bag, for I use my Good Pen (that my son bought me one Christmas at a specialty pen store in Oregon) only for special things. LOVE Highway of Writing Pens (see image examples right) – mine is candy apple red (image at left) and the metal case (right) is adorable and fun, and protects my Good Pen — I use it to sign my books, and to sign contracts, and other specialnessnesnneessss. Highway of Writing – love love.

That’s enough for now. But I am curious: What are your thoughts on all these “Beauty Products”–do you subscribe to the “You get what you pay for,” or are you more a “I like all-natural remedies,” or “Y’all are ridiculous–who cares about all this crapity do dah day!”

I’ll be back on Friday with Linky Love. You all go do the day and remember to Find your Gratitude Every Day.

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