The Sunshine Blogger Award, Part One

My friend and Forever Fierce Sister Amy Kennedy is one of the most loving and thoughtful women I know. She is always encouraging, always finding the bright side of any situation. Even this past winter when she slipped on ice and broke her ankle in multiple places, she was positive and upbeat. She’s a pro at finding the silver lining in any situation. Check out this post from her blog Your Favorite Chapter to see what I mean.

Amy was so sweet to nominate four women for the Sunshine Blogger Award, Regan Davidson of Nifty50Fabulous, Deb Gutierrez of Solful Life, Wendy Hodge of Wendy’s Way to Health and myself. Regan, Deb and Wendy are wonderful women and I’m happy to be included with them.

As part of the nomination, Amy posed several questions for each of us. They were fun and thought-provoking. They also gave me an opportunity to share a little more about myself. I thought I’d include them here for you as we launch a new month. I started Phase 1 of 75Hard yesterday, which I will share later this week, so it ties in with the whole healthy lifestyle focus.

Tell us a little about you and how you chose to become a blogger.

Haute Business was started as a landing spot for midlife women, especially in the areas of Fashion and Finance.  There were not a lot of bloggers in that space.  I’m so pleased to see that’s no longer the case.  Midlife women are realizing they have a voice worthy of attention and more and more of them are using it!

Since starting the blog, I’ve become more of an advocate for women finding their own successful lifestyle. I want so much to motivate women, including myself, to be more than we currently are in all areas of our lives.  “Success” is not necessarily about financial wealth, just as “Health” is not just about fitness.  The combination should be aimed at finding our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental balance while pursuing those things that fulfill us most as people and allow us to give more than we take. I will never stop working to improve who and what I am; I hope to inspire other women to do the same.

Posts about health and fitness are some of the most popular posts on the internet. Why do you suppose that is?

Many of us know we’re not as fit and healthy as we could and should be.  We want to learn more and hopefully be more.  A lot of women our age gave up, thinking extra padding around the middle is what happens to us after a certain age. That’s certainly not true.  There are decisions to be made, however.  Yes, the brownie tastes amazing, but the sugar inside is actually toxic to our bodies.  Those aches and pains in our joints are created and intensified by the sugar we eat.  The devil doesn’t come with horns and a tail, it comes in the form of a hot fudge sundae!

When it comes to eating healthy, what is your #1 snack or meal?

First – water!  So good for the body and so easy to ingest.  Adding a glass with a meal helps us slow down so there is less chance to overeat.  Some of my favorite snacks are hummus and bell peppers (especially the red, yellow and orange varieties), olives, carrots, cherries or a handful of walnuts. Any of those are easy and healthy options to take to work for a little pick-me-up during the day. 

When we go out to eat I love salmon and veggies, usually broccoli.  I’m also a huge salad lover.  We can add all kinds of fun ingredients to it, then top it off with olive or avocado oil and balsamic vinegar.  If you look you can find healthy options on the menu or make a few substitutions to stay in your lane. I’ve changed my outlook from “look at all the things I can’t have” to “let’s see what variety is available to serve my needs and my body.”

Options abound for easy home-cooking as well. Chicken and vegetable soup is so easy to make in a slow cooker.  Grab a bunch of whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, throw those in with whole chicken breasts, chicken or vegetable broth, fresh herbs like parsley, basil and thyme and a little pink Himalayan salt.  Set it up in the morning and dinner is ready when you get home!

I try to wash and chop fruit and veggies the day I buy them so they’re ready to eat.  Often we reach for an unhealthy snack because it’s so handy.  Having healthy options prepped and available make it easier for us to choose the better option.

What advice would you give to a woman who feels trapped in bad health habits and maybe feels like it’s hopeless?

You really, really have to make the decision to live a healthy lifestyle. No one can do that for you. That choice is actually less about food and exerise and more about the emotional connection we have with our current lifestyle. We need a compelling incentive to improve it.

When I was in the medical field a trip through the intensive care unit of my local hospital was excellent incentive to pursue avenues to good health. I saw many stroke and heart patients with histories of smoking and poor food choices.  That would not be me! Not only did I want to be around for my children and grandchildren (and great-grandchildren!), I wanted to be a physically active force in their lives.

For each of us, the patterns that haven’t served us are different, but there is usually a similar underlying current – a commitment to ourselves, repeatedly broken.  We keep the commitments we make to everyone else, yet we don’t honor ourselves enough to keep the promises we make to us. 

I hit a number on the scale years ago that woke me up (and made me say a few bad words).  I’ve lived a healthier lifestyle since, but there was room for improvement.  When I started the 75Hard challenge this past June it felt amazing.  It was different because cheating was completely unallowed.  Not even one little bite of anything off diet during those 75 days.  To fail meant to start over. I wanted so much to have that accountability to myself and to other people who had completed the 75 days. For that reason I saw it through, felt better than ever, and have now incorporated so much of that lifestyle into my daily routine.

What are your top 3 tips for staying focused and seeing your health goals through?

If you’ve been unable to meet your fitness goals in the past (no judgment from me, that’s been me, too) find something or someone to be your standard.  The idea of joining a group of people who had mastered themselves in some way pulled at me so strongly. It is why I found 75Hard so appealing.  As I said before, if you mess up on any of the steps on any day, you start over on Day 1. Starting over and effectively negating any work I’d done to that point was enough incentive to keep me focused on the goal. 

Find something that does that for you.  Amy has a Sizzler Facebook Group with several members who participate in challenges and encourage each other along the way. That’s a great place to start.

Another is to create a challenge for yourself. Your “test” doesn’t have to be 2 ½ months like mine.  Start with a three-week sugar detox, or map out a three-week workout schedule you can stick to.  We often hear three weeks is the time it takes to establish a new habit.  Whether or not that’s true, three weeks is long enough to be challenging but short enough to feel possible.

My niece and sister-in-law convinced me to by an Apple Watch, and that has been fabulous! The watch helps you set three goals which are measured daily: exercise, standing and overall moving. You can monitor your progress and also share that progress with other Apple Watch wearers. The three of us can see each other’s progress during the day and send encouraging messages to each other. For someone who is driven like me, it’s so annoying to go to bed with a ring still open it rarely happens. 🙂

Apple Watches aren’t cheap, but if you don’t buy them at your phone service provider, you don’t have to add a new phone line when you buy the watch. I got the pink/gold 40mm like the phone above. It’s also available in 44mm, but that one dwarfed my wrist! If you’re worried about committing to a color, you can buy a variety of bands and cases and combos to change the look of your watch.

Gear S3 Frontier/Classic Band/Galaxy Watch 46mm Band,V-MORO 22mm Solid Stainless Steel Metal Business Bracelet Strap for Samsung Gear S3 Frontier/S3 Classic Smartwatch/Galaxy Watch 46mm R800 Black

The watch is one other accountability partner for me. It throws down the guantlet every day to close those three rings. It’s a relentless reminder to keep those healthy commitments I made to myself. There are plenty of other options, but our family likes to stalk each other and Apple allows that. Ha ha ha!

What are 3 bucket list items you want to include in your life story?

I want to be one of the premier names every midlife woman thinks of when they’re looking for inspiration and motivation.   My hope for Haute Business is to help a million midlife women realize they can still achieve goals they may have given up on because they felt their time had passed.

I want to be in a constant state of improvement as a person – spiritual, mental, emotional and physical.  At the end of my life I want God to say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  It’s not so much a bucket list item as a life mandate.

I want to have a home in a location where my family can all gather, stay, participate in fun activities and enjoy time together.  Some of my fondest memories are times spent with my brother and my cousins when we were kids.  I want my grandchildren to have similar memories.

Can you link one of your favorite posts and tell us why you love it?

If we’re talking about a Haute Business post, I’d have to choose my recent post When Life Isn’t Fair, linked here. The topic was heavy, about how to give comfort to a friend or family member who is grieving.  It was a favorite because it resonated with so many across my social media channels. We’ve all either experienced the death of a loved one or known someone who has.  I felt I’d been helpful to others, which is the whole reason I blog.  Life isn’t always candy canes and unicorns, but we can support each other through those rough times.

I also loved posting about the completion of my 75Hard Challenge, because it proves midlife women can do difficult physical things.  You can find that one here.

There are several blogs I love. I’ve also been all about podcasts lately. It’s so convenient to listen to some great information while getting ready in the morning. When I’m driving it’s a fruitful way to spend what would otherwise be down time. Some of my favorites are Ed Mylett, The MFCEO Project and Mastering Modern Midlife.

Hugs and kisses to my sweet friend Amy Kennedy. I’m so happy to be considered a Sunshine Blogger!

1 thought on “The Sunshine Blogger Award, Part One

  1. Oh Helen! What a rich, inspiring, motivating and excellent post! Thank you so much for your very thoughtful responses and for caring so much about women! I applaud your goals and will try and incorporate them in my own life! And I am one of those 1 million women following and being inspired by you!

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