april health challenge: triceps

Happy Wellness Wednesday! Today, I am rolling out my first health challenge of 2021. Did you know that flabby arms, batwings, arms that wave back, whatever you call them, those flabby under arms are one of the top 3 things women reportedly hate about their bodies? So, for the month of April the challenge for anyone who wishes to participate is to tone those batwings and get ready for tank top arms. There are many exercises to tone triceps that do not require weights such as, pushups, triangle pushups, triceps dips on a bench or chair, the plank, one arm side pushups, and so many more. You of course can pick any exercises you wish, but for me and this challenge I will be using dumbbells, and just 3 exercises: the triceps dumbbell dip, triceps kickback, and triceps back taps. The triceps are a set of three muscles that make up the back of the upper arm. This area of the body is notably famous for collecting fat, especially on women.

I found the video below if you would like to use a video. If you are new to exercise start slow and stop if you have any discomfort. Start with light weights, 3 pounds or less, soup cans, or water bottles. You can also use an exercise band to do these triceps exercises. Do these exercises at least two times a week, and three is even better. Start with one set of each exercise with 10 to 15 repetitions. Add more weight or higher reps as the weeks go on. This challenge will run from April 1 to April 30, 2021. If you have Kidney Disease like me, then do not use heavy weights, and be mindful of your heart rate and body reaction. Exercise can elevate your blood pressure which is never good for kidney disease. Always remember to warm up your arms first, with some arm circles, and stretch when you are done. If you have any questions or need help feel free to comment below, or use the contact form to message me privately.

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I care a lot: My thoughts on the new netflix movie

Happy Tuesday! I hope all of my readers are doing well. If you read my post yesterday then you know I have been tied up doing stuff related to my wallet being stolen. Today, I put a freeze on my SS number because I was not sure if it was in my wallet or not. After I did that I checked my credit report and it looks like the Bozos may have tried to apply for credit in my name just today. My husband said he didn’t think they would be smart enough to do that. I am glad I listened to my gut instinct and didn’t underestimate their intelligence. If you ever get your Social Security card stolen it is very easy to put a freeze on your number so any applications for credit have to be authorized by you first.

Last week I had to attend a staff meeting for our yearly education on elder abuse and neglect. The presenter mentioned if anyone had seen the Netflix movie, I Care A Lot. I had never heard of it and I jotted down the name for reference. She made it sound like the movie had great information regarding the issue of Guardianship and Financial Abuse against the elderly. I sat down to watch it a couple of days ago. Below are my thoughts.

First off I was very disappointed that any professional working with the elderly would consider the movie I Care A Lot, to be a serious movie to bring attention to the issue of elder financial abuse. As far as a movie goes it was a good movie. I would even consider watching it again. However, for the topic it was mentioned to me it was not a good example. It was exaggeration, humor, extreme is a nice word, just flat out ridiculous. I won’t give away the plot. Watch it for yourself. Below are some real stats on financial elder abuse. I will cover the topic of guardianship later. It is a very complicated topic. If the movie brings awareness to the issue then I will be happy, but I think most people are just going to consider it entertainment and not serious.

Financial Elder Abuse is a huge issue in the USA. These stats were taken right from the National Council On Aging Website.

Approximately one in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as five million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only one in 24 cases of abuse are reported to authorities. This is for all abuses, not just financial abuse.

The signs of Financial Elder Abuse are: unpaid bills, fraudulent signatures on forms, unusual or sudden changes in spending habits wills or other financial documents. See the image below from their website where you can learn more about signs of Financial Elder Abuse.

While likely under-reported, estimates of elder financial abuse and fraud costs to older Americans range from $2.6 billion to $36.5 billion annually. That is a shocking amount of money being stolen from the elderly.

If you need help: If an older adult is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911. Anyone who suspects that an older adult is being mistreated should contact a local Adult Protective Services office, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or police. NCEA describes various scenarios and ways to Get Help, and more information is available from the Eldercare Locator online or by calling 1-800-677-1116.

How to prevent Financial Elder Abuse:

Education of the public on this topic is essential.

If you are an elder you can take care of your health, have a Will, Health Care Proxy or other legal forms so your wishes are known in a legal way. Please note just telling someone they are your Health Care Proxy or Executor of your estate does not make it so. It has to be legally written, drawn up, signed and notarized to actually be honored by the court system. This is extremely important if you want to protect yourself. Even if you don’t have any money it will protect your rights. Don’t isolate yourself. Isolating yourself will make you lonely and possibly more vulnerable. Keep up with your doctors appointments and discuss difficult topics like loneliness and depression. Be careful of substance abuse it can decrease your inhibitions. If you don’t have family speak to a lawyer about options for a Living Will and other items to protect you in your Golden Years. Never share your personal information over the phone, especially with an unverified caller. Don’t fall for their scare you tactics like you will go to jail if you don’t do such and such. Don’t be afraid to contact authorities to see if there are scam calls or emails going around and report them if you get them. The same goes for emails. No official company should be asking you for payment in an email. Request an official invoice and always go right to the website not via click link in an email. Don’t carry your social security card. I just had to put a freeze on mine and the website said you don’t even need the card most of the time anymore just knowing your number is fine. Never give out passwords or Pins. This is hard when you are elderly and maybe you can’t get out as much. Make it a priority to plan for this possibility in your future.

It really bothers me that there are so many thieves and unscrupulous people in this world. Don’t think they are all strangers either. Friends, family, coworkers, even a spouse or significant other can be a thief and con artist.

For more information on this topic please visit the NCOA website.

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warning! i am mindfully aware that i am in a bad mood!

Happy Mindful Monday! Today was absolutely not the day I had planned. I had a ton of stuff I wanted to get done related to blogging and a new Health Challenge for April, plus my April giveaway. But, yes if you guessed by the tone of my title it did not go as planned.

I work second shift. I always eat my dinner in my car because I listen to news and just generally relax. I always lock my car, always. But, I was distracted last night as I was very busy and had a lot on my mind to complete before I went home. I must have not payed attention and left my car unlocked. Some Bozo just happened to be checking cars in the parking lot and found mine open. I assume that anyways, because the doors didn’t look tampered with. Stole my whole cooler lunch bag which just happened to have my wallet in it. Then they went on a spending spree. Now you might be asking why I don’t bring my wallet into my job. We don’t have lockers and there have been thefts there as well, apparently. Anyway to make a long story short, I waited 2 1/2 hours after my shift ended for the police to show up, and while I was quite annoyed I had to wait that long, it was quite worth it. Because I was patient and waited for the police report, I didn’t have to pay to have my license replaced and the bank will probably be able to get my money back. They were caught on camera at a Target using my bank card and they even tried to overdraw a bank card that was no longer active. So, I am hoping they will get caught. I have never had my purse, or wallet stolen, or had my car broken in to. It is a horribly feeling and I felt very vulnerable last night.

I didn’t get much sleep and had to start the day with cancelling cards, ordering new cards, trying to figure out what else of importance was in the wallet. I actually have two wallets, one with the real important stuff, and then one I carry to work in case I ever have an emergency at night on the way home. So, now I won’t be doing that either. I will carry 20 dollars and that is it. I am also considering a car alarm as well. There have been other incidents, apparently, at my job that I was not aware of.

So, yes I was in a bad mood all day. But, I experienced it and I learned from it. I made sure my daughter was aware and participated in the mess I had to clean up in hopes that she will be Mindful of paying attention to locking her car, her surroundings and not carrying items of value to soft targets. I still have a few loose ends to tie up, but for now it is over. I am happy for that. But, I am not going to lie. I am mindfully aware that I don’t feel all that comfortable going back to work.

My April Health Challenge and April coaching giveaway will be posted sometime this week. It may not be on the 1st though. I have a lot of catching up to do now.

Do you practice Mindfulness? How do you use it to help you in difficult situations?

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invest in your health!

Is today the day you will invest in your Health?

Way back on January 1st we decided we were going to do a year of spending down our debt and increasing savings. We also discussed buying a treadmill for all 3 of us to use. At that time it didn’t seem feasible with what our goals actually were for the year. But, then the government decided to give out stimulus checks, again. We paid off another large bill, put a bunch in savings, and then started to think about the treadmill, again. We decided it was a good investment for all of our Health, so we bought one. We bought it from Amazon and it is a Sunny brand. It was in the price range we set for ourselves and it had everything we all agreed we would like. My husband wanted an automatic incline and my daughter wanted to have Bluetooth. I didn’t care much, but I do have to say the automatic incline is a nice feature. I just wanted something sturdy with good reviews, and was a good quality machine. We have had it for 3 days and we have all used it 3 days. My son even got on it when he came to visit. I have been walking for several years as exercise, but the treadmill offers much more than regular walking. I do have to be mindful of my heart rate, due to kidney disease, more on that in a future post.

If you would like a more in depth look at what I eat and how I exercise, for weight loss, sign up for my Losing Weight With Melissa, monthly subscription plan.

I had a crazy week this week and did not get nearly as much done as I wanted in relation to this blog. But, hopefully next week I will have more time for the longer more in depth blog posts. I will be posting an April Challenge hopefully by Monday. You can join in at any time during the month and it is absolutely free. I also hope to get out to my favorite park and do a walk through video for my mailing list subscribers. If you are interested in that kind of more personal content, join my Mailchimp mailing list below. I think I have a guest blogger post coming up within the next couple of weeks. That is always fun, and will by my first one for this blog.

We are coming to the end of National Kidney Month, but you can still get in on my coaching session giveaway that is all about Kidney Disease. Click to learn more. You can sign up right until the 31st of March for your free session. Be sure and watch my video below on how a Health Coach can help you manage your Kidney Disease.

I have already announced the topic for my April free coaching session giveaway. If you are on my Mailchimp mailing list then you already know what it is. I will be giving away 10 free sessions, and my mailing list gets first come first serve. So, be sure and sign up for my Mailchimp mailing list to get early access to deals and content. I will be announcing the details of that freebie on April 2nd.

Check out my updated Walking Buddy Plan.

Check out the pic of our great new treadmill below. Don’t mind the messy garage room it is in. I have not done Spring cleaning out there yet. We store so much stuff in that room and I feel like I am constantly cleaning it and organizing it. Easter is next Sunday. I don’t think we are doing much of anything this year. My son and his wife will be elsewhere. So it will just be the 3 of us. I am not sure how much I will post here, but my newsletter will have recipes and decorating ideas. I have been trying to update at least 2 old posts a day. Most days I only get to one, lol.

I do have to work this weekend but I will try to get pictures of my Spring Fairy Garden posted. I finally took out the Christmas stuff and cleaned it up.


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my taco salad vs taco bell taco salad!

Welcome to Thinking on Thursday! As part of my bringing awareness to fast food vs home cooked foods series, today I am comparing my homemade taco salad to a Taco Bell Taco Salad. Now I took the nutrition information from Calorie King website. There were two different types of salads, one had 904 calories, so I chose the one with 760 calories to compare to mine.

First, let me tell you what is in my salad. I do measure and weigh most of my ingredients to get the most accurate nutrition info. It is probably not exact, but it is according to my Fitbit nutrition tracker. I cook my meat in water, not oil or butter. You can definitely make this even lighter by using part skim cheese, or no cheese at all, and light sour cream. You could also remove the hard taco shells which is 100 calories. But, in my opinion those 100 calories just make the salad so much better. In my taco salad is two Doritos hard taco shells, 1 cup of shredded Romaine lettuce, 4 oz ground turkey, 2 tbsp Daisy sour cream, 2 tbsp Members Mark medium salsa, 1 Campari tomato chopped, 6 black olives chopped, 1/4 cup of Member’s Mark shredded Mexican cheese blend. I did not count the carbs in the taco seasoning because we used a whole packet, but you can figure at least 2 or 3 carbs for that. You can make your own to bring the carb count down for that seasoning.

Nutrition for my Taco Salad:

Calories: 450, remove the cheese and it will be 340.

Fat: 25 grams, again you can make this much lighter

Total Carbs: 23 grams, plus 2 or 3 for seasoning. You could remove the shells and it would be about 11.

Protein: 26 grams

I didn’t calculate the sodium, but it has to be way better than the one I am comparing to.

Taco Bell Taco Salad:

Calories: 760

Fat: 39 grams

Carbs: 79 grams

Protein: 26 grams

Sodium: 1330 mg that is a whopping amount of sodium in one meal.

My taco salad version only takes a few minutes to make, less than 30 minutes for sure, and can be stored in the fridge for during the week. Prep your meat and add the other fixings as you go. If you buy a container that keeps food warm, or cold, you can easily take this to work or school and have a much healthier option where you know exactly what is in the food you are eating.

I will be doing a pizza comparison in the coming weeks. You might be amazed!


Health Buddy Melissa giveaway for March 2021!

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10 ways to be happy for an hour!

Happy Self Care Saturday! Today is also International Earth Day. There is an old Chinese Proverb about being happy. I have adapted parts of it to suit my self care needs. Below are 10 ways you can be happy for an hour. Happiness is key to Self Care though everyone may have their own definition of what it means to be happy and whether it is achievable. To me happiness is a state of feeling free of stress, burdens, worry, strife, work, demands, etc.

  1. I think lots of people will agree with this. If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. I am not a good napper, especially for only an hour, but just lying quietly with my eyes closed and resting is wonderful. I don’t have to actually fall asleep. That generally just makes me feel icky.
  2. Take a walk in nature for an hour. Not a sweaty, heavy breathing exercise kind of walk. A peaceful, slow, gentle walk someplace you find beautiful and quiet. This could be anywhere. You also don’t have to walk the whole time. You can sit and appreciate your 5 senses, sight, hearing, smells, touch, and taste. Be sure you are not on your phone, and it is silenced, and that you are either walking with someone who is quiet and not talkative, or take your dog.
  3. Volunteer for an hour. We volunteer once a week at a dog rescue. Helping dogs rescued from shelters that may be kill shelters, or have been abandoned and unloved is so rewarding. If we lived closer I am sure we would do it more often.
  4. If you are more of a sociable person make sure to set aside an hour at least weekly to be with family or friends. If it can’t be in person then do a video chat, or talk on the phone. If you are more of an introvert this may not be your best option.
  5. Get a massage or mani pedi.
  6. Do gardening. If you have not learned the art of gardening and how wonderfully happy it can make you, then you are missing out. Getting your hands dirty and learning to grow your own food or beautiful flowers makes me very happy. Plus today is Earth Day.
  7. Treat yourself to a meal out, order in, or have someone else cook for a meal. You may not do this daily, but at least weekly. Check out Meals With Melissa.
  8. If you can afford this hire a maid for an hour a day, or even an hour a week. I know that would make me happy.
  9. I know this one is weird but I am really quite happy cleaning my pool. Maybe it is because I get the warm sun on my skin, no one is bothering me, no phone, no kids, no husband, just me and the pool. During the Summer months I clean my pool everyday.
  10. Try being crafty. I know people say they are not crafty or artistic, but you may surprise yourself. An hour a week, or daily if you can, may make your very happy. Some things you may not have considered as crafty are: learn to play an instrument, paint, draw, crochet, knit, pottery, photography, writing, learn a new language, learn sign language, computer graphics such as create an app, glass etching, and so many more I may not have thought of.

I am sure there are others that I didn’t include, exercise or going for a motorcycle ride comes to mind. What is your favorite way to be happy for an hour? Share in the comments.

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Free Coaching Sessions in March.

Throwback thursday: the #1 Toy of 1969

Just a quick post today as we have nasty weather in our area, again. These Throwback Thursday posts are very popular. I love nostalgia and reminiscing. What year were you born? Do you know what the #1 toy the year you were born was? I was born in August of 1969, and in that same month America landed on the moon. The #1 toy for that year was the Snoopy Astronaut. I would so love to have one of these toys. I am sure it costs a pretty penny today. Leave me a comment and let me know what the #1 toy was the year you were born.

I am giving away free coaching sessions in the month of March, 2021. Read more here.

I am still working on updating old posts and cleaning up this blog.

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The image was from Google and I think it originally came from Sotheby’s.

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happy St Patrick’s Day and my version of a shamrock Shake

Today is a light and fun blog post. Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? When my kids were little we used to have so much fun on this holiday. What about a Shamrock Shake, have you ever had one? They are delicious! But, they are also full of fat and calories. I had a small one last week and it was almost 500 calories. You can see in my image mine is not all that green in color. I chose not to add the green food coloring, but you certainly could if you chose to. My version is right about 250 calories with very little fat. See the recipe below.

Today, I sent out my very first weekly newsletter. I am not sure how great it was, but I already have ideas for next week to improve. If you would like to receive my weekly newsletter sign up below.

St. Patrick’s Day to me means Spring is here. I know most people think of Easter as the start of Spring, but I link it to St. Patrick’s Day. My garden seeds are starting to sprout and my peach tree has baby peaches. How exciting! I hope to get enough peaches to freeze for smoothies over the brutally hot Summer and maybe even be able to give some away. My tree is not that big yet, so I am not sure at how much I will get. My zucchinis, peas, broccoli, lettuce and onions are all coming along nicely as well. I noticed flower buds on my pea plants just this morning so I will definitely get some peas. This is my first year growing most of these items, but I am feeling green, lol. I never had any luck with bananas, which is odd considering where I live. I hope to get blueberries, watermelon and cantaloupe this year. Melons need a ton of space to grow so I only planted a few seeds.

Before I share my version of a Shamrock Shake, I wanted to mention the nutrition of fresh Peppermint. I grow my own Peppermint and it is super easy to grow. I just transplanted some in the back yard to help keep away bugs back there. I use Peppermint for the dog if he has an upset stomach. I just put a fresh leaf in his food, and I also use it for flea and tick control on my pets. I simply rub fresh Peppermint leaves all over their bodies once a day. I do this in between their Bravecto three month dose, because towards the end of the three months it doesn’t seem to work as well, plus they smell all Peppermint fresh. According to my Nutrition Facts app fresh Peppermint in a 1/4 cup serving size contains the following estimated values: Calories 4, water 5 grams, Protein .25 grams, Carbs 1 gram, negligible fat, ,33 grams of Fiber, Iron .5 mg, Phosphorus 5 mg, Potassium 36 mg, Sodium 2 mg, 0 Vitamin K, and Calcium 14 mg.

Here is the recipe: I use a Nutribullet to make my smoothies. You may need to alter your ice and liquid amounts for your size blender.

You will need

ice to fill your Nutribullet 1/4 full

Premier Protein Blueberry Oats drink- I use only half the container which contains 75 calories and 10 grams of protein. I will discuss this drink in a future post.

4 tbsp of fresh mint leaves rinsed

1 small peach with pit removed

1/4 cup fresh or frozen spinach

1/2 or a whole banana depending on your preference and nutrient needs

1 tablespoon of French Vanilla creamer or just use pure vanilla extract.

That’s it blend it up and drink it down.

Let me know if you make it and how you like it. If you wanted an even less calorie smoothie just use half a banana, and protein powder instead of the shake. You will need another source of low calorie liquid, and water would work, I just don’t know how it would taste. Don’t forget for the whole month of March I am giving away free coaching sessions related to Kidney Disease. You can learn more here.

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What’s up doc?

Happy Friday, everyone. The weather has been so beautiful all this week and today is no exception. My daughter and I are actually going to meet some friends at the park for some social time. I feel like I haven’t spent time with my friends in months and that is because I haven’t. I am so looking forward to this.

The title, if you have ever watched Looney Tunes, is what Bugs Bunny always used to say while munching on a carrot. Today I am going to discuss carrots. Why? Carrots are a nutrient dense food, and they are very affordable as well. Nutrient dense foods basically are foods that give you a lot of nutrition for not a lot of money. According to my basket app in my area I can buy organic whole carrots for a range of 1.19-1.69. In other words you get the most bang for your buck. That is my kind of food. I do not buy the baby carrots too often, but a lot people use them for snacking. I find raw carrots to be upsetting to my digestive system, so I steam or roast them. If you are following a low glycemic diet cooked carrots have a higher index than raw. I will be posting more on this topic in future posts. If you are into saving money on your food budget but still getting optimal nutrition, be sure and check back each week.

Carrots are rich in Beta Carotene which helps the body make Vitamin A. Vitamin A is super important to the body but it is really great for eye health. Carrots may also help to lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, and aid weight loss. You can also use the carrot tops in smoothies and salads for even more nutrition. Always be sure to wash all fresh veggies prior to consuming. From a CKD perspective carrots have 41 calories, are 88% water, 1 gram of protein, 10 grams of carbs with 3 grams of fiber, 35 mg of Phosphorus, 69 mg of sodium- that is interesting as most raw foods have no sodium so watch that, Potassium 320 mg. That is per 1/2 cup of raw carrots. Nutrition info is from my nutritionfacts app. I round amounts up or down. Don’t forget to take advantage of my March free coaching offer, click to read more.

I love carrots, and I am always looking for ways to eat them. Below you will find some awesome recipe links and videos to help you. I saw one that was scrambled egg with shredded carrots. But, the video was poor quality so I didn’t share it, but it is pretty simple to figure out.



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