National Cancer Survivors Day 2016

National Cancer Survivors Awareness Month

Though it’s not advocated as much as it should be, National Cancer Survivor Awareness is recognized during the month of June.  More specifically, National Cancer Survivor Awareness Day was on June 5th.

We’re usually told stories of loss when it comes to cancer awareness, so, it is touching to when we can hear stories and advocacy straight from those who have fought a personal battle against this disease.  If you are a survivor of cancer or know and care about somebody who has survived this awful disease, then you can imagine that their cancer survival is mostly likely celebrated every day.

As many readers of this blog already know, I lost my father to colon cancer in October 2011.  I would love nothing more than to be writing today about my dad the survivor rather than my late father, another victim to the nightmare that is cancer.  Those of us who survive after the loss of a loved one to cancer move forward to bring awareness and spend time dedicated to preserving memories through advocacy.  But what about those who survive cancer personally?  Survivors continue to tell their stories and educate others about the disease as they know it.  And it is through their stories that we move closer to a genuine human experience of what it means to live with and survive a serious illness.

Heather Von St. James contacted me to share her story of survival. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma shortly after the birth of her daughter.  She, like many others (including my father), was given a less than hopeful prognosis.  Heather’s doctor told her that if she did not act on her cancer right away, she would have fifteen months to live.  She had a three-month-old daughter the day she heard this news.  Can you imagine this?

Mesothelioma is a severe form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure.  So you may ask, how did a young woman, three months a new mother, develop this illness? Heather’s illness was most likely the result of years of exposure to asbestos debris attached to her father’s work clothes.   Asbestos is a lethal toxic substance that is still legal to use in the United States. In fact, there have been traces of asbestos found in crayons and finger paint kits currently sold in stores throughout the country.  It is an absolute outrage to learn that asbestos – the known cause of mesothelioma – is still being utilized and sold to unknowing consumers.

After an aggressive cycle of treatments, Heather was very fortunate to have been given a positive prognosis and a clean bill of health. She has lived ten years cancer-free, despite being given a much less promising initial mesothelioma prognosis.  Her struggle with her illness went beyond the treatments and hospital visits, however — it carried on through her battles with PTSD and anxiety as a result of her intensive and extensive treatments.

Heather had a choice to put her illness behind her and move forward, but instead, she decided that she could not let her story go untold.  And she could not let the voices of other asbestos victims go unheard.  As a result,  Heather has been working tirelessly to ban the import and use of asbestos in the United States. She regularly goes to Washington with The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and The Environmental Working Group to tell her story, and she vows to continue to educate, inform, and fight until there is a ban.

Unfortunately, Heather’s story is not typical.  Not only is she one of the younger people to be diagnosed with mesothelioma and to receive treatment for her particular form of cancer, but she is one of the minority of individuals who have defied the odds and survived.

When it comes to cancer, often stories are told by people who have lost a loved one.  And though the voices of cancer’s indirect victims are harrowing to hear, nothing speaks louder than the voices of survivors themselves.

Heather’s story is uniquely optimistic, and one of many I hope gets told.  Her courage and dedication to seeking justice for other individuals and families who have fallen victim to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma are truly admirable.

I hope you will share Heather’s story and help her in her quest for a ban on the use of asbestos as well as spread awareness for those diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Please take the time to acknowledge those in your life who have beaten cancer and continue to tell their stories and enrich our lives.

For more information on Heather, her fight, and her mission, please visit her page on how she beat the odds and continues to fight.

You can also follow Heather Von St. James on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Google+

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Photo:  Adore Me

All Bodies Are Bikini Ready

This post originally appeared on www.erintuition.com.  

I have not always loved my body.  In fact, I have spent the overwhelming majority of my life being less than kind to myself.  Partly because I was indoctrinated into diet culture since childhood and have worked in the health and fitness industry for the past several years.  But also, because it is commonplace to believe that we all must adhere to the rules and standards of beauty created by industries designed to make us believe our bodies are not good enough. And these standards are being pushed onto women at younger ages than ever before as this recent magazine’s “bathing suit” chart proves.

I spent most of my teenage life (and a good portion of my twenties) wearing clothes that hid my body, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was wearing something over my clothes to protect my body from unwanted viewing.

However, there was one place that I never seemed to have any issue with losing the layers and that was at the beach.

Most people find the prospect of having to wear a swimsuit completely nerve racking and the ultimate in body exposure.   And, of course, why shouldn’t people feel anxiety about rocking a bathing suit?  The mainstream media has drilled it into our heads for literal decades that the only women who should be visible in a bikini are women with bodies that fit into a VERY specific mold.

In fact, I remember a particular yogurt company’s commercial and the “itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini” song, which had to be one of the most offensive weight loss ads in TV history.   It’s been years since I’ve seen that awful commercial, and I’m sure they come up with a new one each year because with every passing year comes another “bikini” season for them to cash in on.  Also, it’s technically called Summer the last time I checked.

My friends always found it funny that for somebody who dissected every inch of her physique with such unrelenting criticism that I would always be the first one to be excited to strip down to my swimwear with absolutely no hesitation.  Because despite all of my body hangups, I never felt ashamed or self-conscious in my bikini.    I love swimming, and I love the freedom of wearing my bikini.  I love the way it makes me feel so weightless and how the water feels splashing up against my tummy.  I love the ocean. In fact, even now, if you asked me where I would love to be if I could be anywhere it would be on a beach, in my bikini without a care in the world.  Not one.  Well, except maybe when I was going to receive my next margarita from!  Summertime is one of the most pleasurable times of the year, and nobody should have to feel they need to sit on the sidelines because their body doesn’t “fit” a b-s standard.  Once that time is gone, we can’t get it back, so we need to embrace our bodies and enjoy life right now.

That’s why I’m loving that more and more women are rejecting the idea that there’s only one type of body that is worthy of wearing sassy swimwear.  I love seeing women of all shapes and sizes rocking swimwear and redefining the “bikini body” for all of us! Many swimwear lines are taking notice of this growing and trend giving us all even more reason to love hitting the beach again!   I love the swimsuit collection by Adore Me. They carry affordable, cute, fresh swimwear ranging in sizes XS to 3X —  they totally want to see everybody taking advantage of the summertime!  My personal fave is the Keandra.

Happy sun and fun, lovelies!

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State Of The Blog

So, it’s been nearly three months since my last post on Beets Per Minute.  I’ve read countless blog posts about how nobody gives a damn about where you’ve been when you’re away or what’s been going on, but I’m going to share a bit of it regardless of this “fact.”    I KNOW some of you care (or at the very least have been curious) because you have reached out to me via email and social media to find out what’s been going on.

I finished up my Life Coaching and NLP Practitioner program at the end of March.  I was, of course, VERY immersed in my program with lots of exercises, essays, and practicums, and since I have never been a person who can chew gum and write at the same time, I had to prioritize my time.   I wanted to finish my program up before the month of April.  I was able to finish up all of my work and received word of my final grades and certification just last week.

I’m super excited about this!

I was back in America for nearly the entire month of April.  It was so great to see some friends and family, drive a car, and drink lots of Dunkin Donuts.  I feel terrible that I didn’t get to see everyone — as it turns out, six weeks at home probably would have worked better for that!   However, I got to hang out (quite a bit) with my family dog, Maggie.  Look at how fly she is.  I wish I were as flawless.

Maggie Collage

Much like Elizabeth Gilbert went through a “no carb left behind” experience in Eat Pray Love, I went through a “no FOOD left behind” experience back on my native soil.

 

No food left behind w/ @erinkristinacampbell

A photo posted by Erin Campbell Thompson (@beetsperminute) on

While I have no regrets about leaving no food behind,  I’ve been spending the past couple of weeks getting back into a routine that’s a little less, well for lack of a better expression, balls to the wall or #YOLO.

I’ve also been continuing to write as a contributor for several blogs over the past few months.  I’m not going to lie; it’s much easier for me to have the editorial structure of deadlines given to me by others rather than setting my rules.  In all honesty, the direction of this blog hasn’t been something I’ve been super passionate about for a while now.

Don’t get me wrong; I love blogging, it’s just — as anybody else who writes a blog knows — it’s hard work.  And I’m all for hard work, but hard work, for me, tends to be much more challenging when my direction and focus have changed.  I have started another blog because I’ve decided that I want to take my voice and my writing in a different direction in addition to continuing to build BPM (or a new health-related blog) in a new direction.

Writing about food and fitness was perfect for me when I started BPM.  I had just passed my NASM exam and began working in the fitness world.  Also, I had become very passionate about exercise and healthy eating as a way to cope with the grief and anxiety I was feeling over the loss of my father.  I was terrified if I didn’t make positive changes, I wouldn’t care enough for myself and my long term eating disorder issues would resurface and take over my life.  What started out as a hobby to write about things that were relevant in my life at the time, slowly became less and less of a passion for me.

Again, I love writing about health and fitness, but my interests have evolved much more in the directions of activism and mental health and how this affects our bodies and lives far more than writing healthy recipes and workouts.  I attribute this as well to going through my intensive coaching education.  If I could make an analogy; before I was looking at my experience through a hole in the wall and now I’m looking at it from inside the damn room.

For a while, this blog, my life, and my career outside it were consumed by weight, food, exercise, and body image. I spent most of the winter slipping into old habits and mindsets because of my involvement with the fitness world and my confusion about how I want to participate in it.  Conversations I was having all day, every day with myself and others seemed to revolve around diet culture and body dissatisfaction in one form or another.  I’ve had to force myself to go on my social media accounts because it’s such a shitshow of negativity.

Does anybody else think social media has gotten SO much worse over the past several months?

 

But I digress, I want to start a different conversation now.  One that will help to address some of the shortcomings I see in the fitness and nutrition worlds and that I no longer want to engage in.  I’m not saying I no longer want to be a personal trainer, but I’m changing my approach to fitness and with the people I train.  It can be difficult to push for change while you’re part of a system that can be so counterproductive at times.

I’ve rambled a bit here, and it’s perhaps a bit confusing.  The Cliff’s Notes (or Monarch, or whatever) for this post are the following:  I’m not sure what will happen with the future of this blog because I am changing direction going forward.  I will most likely start a different blog if I decide to stop Beets Per Minute, but I haven’t decided anything just yet.  I hope those of you who have been faithful readers will continue to follow me on my journey — there’s going to be some great stuff to come!  Don’t forget to check out my other blog, ErIntuition — it’s work in progress and not everybody’s cup of tea, but I like it!  :)

With that, I’ll leave you with the (NSFW) humorous stylings of Matt Bellasai and why he thinks gyms are the worst!  I don’t exactly feel his sentiments about gyms and fitness, but he certainly isn’t 100% off!

What have you been up to?  Have you ever wanted to change the direction of your blog/personal project?

Let’s connect!

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Upper Body + Cardio BootCamp Workout

Happy Monday, guys!  I know I’ve been a bit MIA, but it’s because I have been expanding my writing career over the past two months.  I have been contributing my writing to some new sites (including my first published Huffington Post essay!).

I also started a second blog, which is quite different from this one.  It’s called ErIntuition, and it’s a much, much lighter side to yours truly.  It’s not a blog about wellness; it’s just a place where I blow off steam and talk about things like hair, tv shows, and anything that comes to mind.

I love writing about fitness, mental health, and nutrition, but I’ve got another side to me that sometimes needs to blow off steam and I thought this blog might not be the best place for it.  If you like my sense of humour, however, you should give it a read!

Anyhoo, back to today’s post!  I’ve been super duper busy, so my personal workouts have become a bit more intense and fast-paced.  Honestly, even trainers get the blues and winters are just the damn pits.  I don’t know how the weather is where you are, but here in Glasgow, I am so over it.  It’s cold, rainy, windy (I’m talking, like, Dorthy’s house is about to fly to Oz windy) and just slippery.  I love doing my workouts outdoors, so, for me, this weather is just awful!

For this reason, I have created a series of 25-minute workouts that can be done indoors with little space and equipment.  These exercises may look simple enough, but they work up a serious amount of sweat and burn a phenomenal amount of calories.  Today’s workout is an Upper Body + Cardio BootCamp workout.
Bootcamp Cardio Workout

 

Please consult your physician before starting this or any workout program!

What’s your favourite weatherproof indoor workout?

Let’s connect!

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Send Your Heart This Valentine’s Day

Happy Saturday and Valentine’s Day Eve!  Now, I’m not one to go mad about Valentine’s Day.  I agree that flowers and love and all that good stuff are nice 365 days a year.  Believe me, I spent my fair share of V-Days drinking wine straight out of the bottle and telling people holding hands that they are rude.  I’ve become less bitter.

…Okay, I still drink wine straight out of the bottle (on occasion!).

Anyhoo, if you want to send something cool and unique to a loved one this Valentine’s Day, there’s a really cool app created by ASDA called, “Send Your Heart” App and it sends your actual heartbeat in a musical message via your phone.  It’s super cool!

I sent one to Luke via text message and this is what it looks like.

ASDA #SendYourHeart App

When you press on the play arrow in the center of the heart it plays your actual heartbeat along with the beat of music.

It’s a fun and easy way to send love out to people on Valentine’s Day and it’s great for people who live far away but are always near to our hearts.  Great for expats like yours truly!

Pretty sweet, right?

The app is free and can be installed on both Andriod and iOS.

Who will you send your heartbeat to this Valentine’s Day?

***This post is part of a sponsored campaign through the BlogHer Social Media Influencer program for ASDA’s Send Your Heart app.  Even though I will be compensated for my participation, all opinions are my own.   

Let’s connect!

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