FRIEND [frend] noun: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
Today I honor one of my oldest and dearest friends, Allison Foley. We met in 7th grade and now in 2017, it’s our year to turn 40 years old. Where does the time go? As I mentioned on the podcast this week (where Allison co-hosts), there is nothing like an old friend. When I call her up, it could be days or a year since we talked and it always feels like yesterday. I could be calling about the happiest or the saddest news, and she supports me in every way.
They often say that friends are the family you choose and oh how true! When you have a friend like Allison, treat her well. Make the effort and take care of her because she takes care of you. Allison is one of the most loyal people I have ever met. I just know that in every moment, she is there for me. I can only hope that I have been there for her in the same way.
This week, take some time to connect with an old friend. Make the effort. As adults, we don’t have as much time as we once did. In high school and college, friends were our lives. Now that we are older, we have to make a real effort to keep important friendships alive. Take some time and reach out because friends feed your soul.
Hey y’all! So here it is, my long-promised blog post on some ideas for going gluten free. I haven’t (knowingly) eaten gluten since 2008!. Was it a challenge at first? OMG YES it was. I come from an Italian family where cookies, pasta, and bread were (and still are) everyday staples. But, with some commitment, discipline, and knowledge, you can take control of your health, your energy, and your body in no time.
Here’s the down low on gluten-free; some of the things I’ve learned in my years of eating gluten free, including tips on how you can work this into your life if you so choose.
First, what is gluten?: it’s basically a name for the proteins that occur in wheat. It can occur in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains, as well as the foods comprising those ingredients or ingredients derived from them. Gluten intolerance is found in people who can’t process these proteins.
Know where the hidden gluten is. Research gluten-free foods and know where the “hidden” gluten is. Common yet surprising sources can include:
Cut out processed foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and other whole foods. The more REAL foods you eat, the less gluten you’ll tend to find in your diet.
Substitute certain common ingredients for gluten-free options. For example, corn starch can be substituted for flour when you want to thicken a sauce. Coconut, almond, rice, and all kinds of non-wheat flours can be exchanged for flour when you bake. Wrap your taco in lettuce instead of a flour tortilla (you will feel less bloated too!). Use gluten free Tamari instead of regular soy sauce, zucchini “noodles” instead of regular pasta, and put all of your sandwich contents on lettuce instead of bread.
Call ahead for gluten-free meals at special events. People are usually happy to accommodate if you just make the effort to call ahead and let them know of your circumstances.
Always have food you can eat with you. Keep on-the-go options at hand in case you’re out and in need of a quick, convenient snack fix and do not have healthy options available. Many meal bars and snack companies have great options. My husband and I love Lara and Kind bars (Affiliate links are our favorite flavors). Always keep a good stash of nuts and fruit with you. They are healthy and quick!
Reach Out. Having a food intolerance or limitation can feel isolating. Reach out to a nutrition counselor, friend, or online to find people to help you with this lifestyle change. There are tons of great blogs, social media accounts, and websites that are dedicated to the subject of eating gluten free. You are not alone!
Be thankful. I know that sometimes having a food intolerance can feel like a curse. I get it. I have been there. But, if you shift your perspective and realize that 1. you are healthy and 2. there is a free, non-medication-based solution, you can celebrate it. And honestly, you will be healthier because of it. Before I had a gluten intolerance, I would get a cookie at almost every lunch, a pastry every time I went into Starbucks, and never said no to cake at a wedding. I can’t imagine what my health (and weight) would be like without the discipline that my gluten intolerance has gifted me.
Confession: I have been a fan of The View since the first season (PS, they are on season 20!). There is just something about Hot Topics that pumps me up, especially now that the political climate is so insane. When I saw that you could submit a video of their new line dance “The View Slide” and they may air it on TV, I thought it could be fun to create one. In January, I held my annual YogaSport Team Summit where the staff (teachers, assistants, desk staff, designers, etc.) gets together to practice yoga, set goals, discuss the year, learn about each other, and have some good old fun. As one of our team building exercises, we learned and performed the dance.
Just a few days after I submitted the video, one of The View producers emailed me asking if we could re-record it from the front so we could be included in their next segment. Eeeeeeeekkkkkk! About half of Team YS could make it for the re-recording, which made it onto National TV. While it’s not a seat at the Hot Topics table, I will take it!
Nineteen years of cuddles, comfort, and play. It’s only been a day since my sweet kitty has been gone, but I miss her more than I imagined was possible. My heart physically aches. She was my best friend.
We were both babies when we met. She was 6 months old and I was just a 20 year-old college student. Together we lived in San Antonio, Austin, Boston, and Dallas. We had many different roommates, friends, and parties. She was by my side through every gut-wrenching break-up and with me the day I married the love of my life, John. She loved him, even though he wasn’t a “cat guy,” and she certainly knew it. She even tolerated a new addition to the family, Roxy, a DOG. She cuddled with me through an exciting first pregnancy and a very painful second one. She became besties with Luke and even let Zoe pet (pull) her fur.
Throughout my entire adult life, Bella and I were inseparable. Up until her last moments, she was by my side. Most cats hide when they are sick and ready to die. The only time she left me was when John and I were desperately trying to get her to eat something. She retreated to the closet as if to say “Mom, stop. I am ready.” Moments after I texted the vet that we were going to let her go, she came out of the closet and never left my side.
Pets are incredible creatures. They are such intuitive beings. They know when we hurt. They take care of us when we are sick. They celebrate with us when we are happy. They remain loyal, no matter what we say or what we do. They love unconditionally. And all they ask for in return is nourishment, love, and comfort. It’s really pretty simple and a lesson we can all learn.
Today was my first day without her. I woke up to silence. There was no meowing at the foot of the bed, no purring in my ear, and no soft fur on my face. Roxy slept in her place all day and looked at me with sad eyes. I swear she misses her too. John, the guy who doesn’t like cats, had tears in his eyes. While it hurts so very much to say goodbye, I am so grateful that she was there the day I went to the Humane Society of San Antonio.
Sweet Bella, you were an incredible companion. I am so glad you are at peace. As our vet Mandy said, “Enjoy your wings, girl.”
Have you checked out the latest episode of the Spark-Inspire Your Life Podcast? The podcast is a mix of happy hour-style venting and results-based coaching. Spark is a judgment-free space where Angela and Nicole chat about both the brilliant bits of life as well the bits that are little more sucky. With lightness, laughter, and the belief that there’s no such thing as over-sharing, they will guide you in finding clear paths out of murky messes and toward discovering inspiration in everyday moments. Find the show notes and blog posts at angelawagnercoaching.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @CoachAWags. Remember this week to take the time to give thanks, raise a glass, and discover what it is that sparks you!
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Well hello there. I am the Angela in Team AN (both of us are named Angela Nicole but I go by Angela and she goes by Nicole, how cool and crazy is that?!). I call myself a mutt because I grew up in Melrose Park, IL, at 12 moved to Medfield, MA, and at 18 moved to Texas to attend Trinity University. I’ve always hated the cold so I never moved further North than Dallas, TX, which is where I live today.
I started my post-college career in marketing and advertising in San Antonio. I moved to Austin and eventually Dallas (for a boy, isn’t it always for love?) I was laid off from my super fancy and super stressful advertising agency job and decided I had enough of the snooty life. I opened YogaSport in 2004, I teach classes, workshops, programs, and teacher trainings. I also became a life coach in 2010. If you are interested to hear more about my story and how I became an entrepreneur, listen to my interview on The How of Business podcast. You can also read my life coaching bio here and my yoga bio here. As for my personal life, I married my golf professional hubby, John, in 2010. We have two littles, Luke and Zoe (right now 2.5 and 8 months) and two pets, Bella (cat) and Roxy (dog). We have a lot of love (and hair) around.
Although I gave up my very Italian maiden name, Barrese (pronounced Buh-REE-see or if you speak Italian like my brother, Bah-RRRAY-zay), having Italian blood explains an enormous amount about me.
I am fiery, passionate, and stubborn as hell! I am certainly not the typical yogi, yoga studio owner, or life coach which is partially why I am very good at what I do. I GET it. I am not enlightened and never have been (I will let you know when pigs fly). I created this podcast to have a fun and inspiring place where people from everywhere can connect, share, and inspire each other. I am grateful for my life and I hope that you love this podcast as much as I do.
Food: Sushi Drink: Bubbly Band: Dave Matthews Band Vacation: Beach, pool and cocktails Guilty Pleasure: The Bachelor Franchise Book:The Four Agreements (affiliate) Podcasts: Happier, Here To Make Friends (see above) Little Known Facts: I have been gluten free out of necessity since 2009, my childhood nickname is Nikki, and I am a secret political junkie. Shhh…
Postpartum problems can be traumatic for women – physically and psychologically. We once treated a patient who had a severe laceration of the vagina and significant scar tissue that became infected. She was treated, but it remained painful. The thought of another pregnancy scared her – not just because sex was painful, but because she was worried about reinjuring it during childbirth.
We taught her some gentle yoga poses and how to use intravaginal massage to soften the tissue and ease her pain. When she became pregnant again, we worked with her throughout the pregnancy to keep the tissue soft to decrease the likelihood of tearing. She did wonderfully during and after labor and delivery.
While you may have a six-week postpartum visit with your doctor, you likely won’t see a physical therapist – in the United States anyway. Physical therapy is included in postpartum care in some countries.
We look forward to a day when this is common practice here as well. In fact, a July 2016 article in Cosmopolitan discussed how we are (slowly) waking up to the fact that women don’t have to live with these problems.
Let’s take a look at a few issues you may face after giving birth and what you can do to get back to your life again.
Confusion about exercise
For many years, women were advised not to exercise until after their six-week postpartum appointment. Recent recommendations you can start when you feel ready. But start slowly. Your body is healing. Take your baby for a walk in the stroller. Try some gentle yoga, or go swimming. Avoid cycling or high-impact sports such as running or CrossFit.
If you had a cesarean section, you will need more time to recover. Remember, you had major surgery. Talk with your doctor about what you should and shouldn’t do.
If you’re breastfeeding, try to nurse or pump before you exercise so your breasts aren’t full. Make sure you have a supportive bra with nursing pads. But don’t leave the bra on after exercise because prolonged compression can lead to a clogged duct.
And finally, stay well hydrated, especially if you’re nursing.
Your abdominal muscles have stretched. If you had a C-section, they’ve been cut. You may have diastasis recti, in which a gap between your abdominal wall muscles can cause a protruding belly. This all compromises ab function and puts additional stress on your back and pelvic floor muscles.
You need to strengthen those muscles and retrain them how to contract and properly brace yourself during daily activities.
Start with a basic position such a sitting, concentrating on posture. Then move to standing and squatting. You can even do mini squats holding your baby!
Planking is a great core exercise. This helps strengthen your abdominals and lower back in addition to your upper body and arms, which need to be strong to lift and carry your baby!
When you feel ready, start slowly with a modified version. Place your hands on the floor directly over your shoulders like you’re about to do a push-up. Rest your knees on the ground, keeping your back flat and abs tight. Your head should be in line with your back. As you progress, you can extend your legs and raise yourself up on your toes for a full plank.
Hold the plank for 10 to 20 seconds, increasing up to a minute as you get stronger.
In physical therapy, we may ask you to bring your baby to practice picking them up or putting them in a car seat. You do these things over and over, but if you do them incorrectly or you don’t have the proper strength, you could be setting yourself up for injury.
Your pelvic floor muscles may be too weak or stretched out after childbirth to support the bladder and keep the urethra (the tube urine comes through) closed.
We recommend starting gentle Kegel exercises right away. Your pelvic muscles may be a bit stunned after birth, and gentle contractions can be helpful to improve blood flow and promote healing.
Try a Kegel exercise with a lower abdominal contraction. Lie down with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Slowly inhale, then exhale. Pull your navel toward your spine and tighten the pelvic floor muscles. Repeat this 10 times two to three times a day. If doing this increases your pain, stop and consult with your physical therapist.
You may experience postpartum incontinence when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. You can retrain your timing coordination so that it once again becomes an automatic reflex with the “knack” technique, a well-timed contraction of the pelvic floor muscles.
Sit or stand tall with your chest lifted. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and contract your urethra, vaginal muscles and anal sphincter. Maintain this contraction as you cough. After you cough, relax the pelvic floor muscles.
A physical therapist trained in pelvic health also can advise you on lifestyle modification and hydration habits that may help.
If you had tearing, an episiotomy, or a C-section, you can begin scar massage six weeks after giving birth. Scar tissue massage stretches the tissue surrounding and on the scar so it doesn’t adhere to the underlying tissue and allows you to move freely without pain.
Start by lightly touching or stroking the scar and general area of the incision – first with your palms and then your fingertips. Talk with your physical therapist for more specific guidelines on scar tissue massage during the stages of your healing.
A physical therapist also can train you to use a vaginal dilator to relax the muscles and prepare the tissue for sexual intercourse. These devices look like tampons and come in various sizes. We’ll also teach you some relaxation strategies.
Child’s pose and deep squats also can help lengthen and relax pelvic floor muscles that may be causing you pain.
If you experience physical problems that prevent you from fully enjoying life, talk to your doctor or physical therapist. Don’t accept it as normal. Reclaim your body after childbirth!
To talk with a physical therapist about care before, during, or after pregnancy, request an appointment online or call 214-645-8300.
Why it’s great in the morning: This move can offer relief for stiff backs. “I tend to curl and scrunch my body up while I sleep, and twists help release any tightness I’m feeling in my back,” says Wagner. “This posture also reminds me to lengthen my spine before I get ready for work.”
Expert instructions on how to do it: “Start by sitting cross-legged on the floor. Keeping both legs bent, lift your left leg up and plant your left foot on the outside of your right thigh. Twist your torso to your left, connecting your right elbow with your left knee. As you breathe in, press your left hand on the floor directly below your shoulder and draw your spine and chest up. Don’t let your back round—if you feel it start to round, focus on pressing your hand into the floor a little harder and lengthening through your spine. As you breathe out, twist a little deeper. Hold for a few deep breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.”
Here are just a few Frequently Asked Questions about the Spark online program.
1. Do I have to practice yoga to do Spark online? No, the Spark online program does not have a yoga component so there is no yoga experience necessary!
2. How much time do I need to spend on this program each week? It’s difficult to put an amount of time on it. In general you will need a few hours per week (total) to do the work involved. However, some people will spend more or less time depending on their goals.
3. What if I am going on vacation or traveling during part of the five weeks? If you are traveling, it’s easy to take the work with you. It’s nothing extreme and nothing you can’t make time for when you are away. However, if you simply won’t have time during your travels, you can just pick up where you left off when you get back. The Glow package gives you the five week program over six weeks, Sparkle gives you three months to revisit content and Fireworks six months.
4. What is the difference between YogaSport Spark and Spark online? The biggest difference is that Spark online does not have a yoga component. Some of the exercises are similar but this program is defined into three categories. You can read the specifics of the categories and the focus for each week on the home page. If you have done Spark at YogaSport, you will takeaway new tools and exercises as well as the ones you know and love! The other big difference is that it’s online – you can access it from wherever, whenever (within your subscription period).
5. Do I have to go on an extreme diet or completely change the way I eat? No, you will not go on an extreme diet. However, in week four, there is a 10 day detox that will challenge you to cut out all of the bad stuff (sugar, alcohol, etc) but certainly will not make you cut out all carbs or only drink juice (think brown rice vs white rice and lean turkey vs hamburger). You can either do this on your own or purchase the Advocare 10 day detox which I have been doing for over 10 years and simply love. If you are interested in a more structured way of cleaning out your diet, read about and purchase any of the 10 day detoxes here.