A Tale of Too Much Traveling

Yikes! Ever wonder why your body feels beat-up after being in the car for too long? There’s a lot of damage that can be done from sitting too long especially on your spine. I recently experienced this a few weeks ago.

When not working at the clinic, I have an independent business where I teach learning and development classes to small and large companies. I teach 2-4 times a month and usually need to drive 2-4 hours away for each class. It’s a great side gig and I love teaching!

On top of traveling often in the month of July and August for training, we moved into a new house. My husband, Ben, and I decided to do most of the moving ourselves. For any of you that have moved, you know how much lifting is involved with getting all your furniture into a new house. Why did we do most of it ourselves? Great question. I have no idea! It’s not like we don’t have several family members or friends that live close by that could have helped us. Lesson learned.

I had been feeling pretty proud of myself for keeping up with my husband during the moving process and not getting sore from being in the car so much. In fact, I usually get adjusted every 2-3 weeks and decided I’d skip a visit since I was feeling pretty good.

Big mistake. I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday and could barely move my neck. It was stiff, swollen and I felt like I had gotten run over by a truck. I tried to make it through the day and decided it was time to drive to Spencer and see Dr. Lee.

This is Rapid Fire. It’s your new best friend. You should probably stop by the clinic and get some!
He was wonderful! Dr. Lee knows me pretty well and he could see I was struggling big time. After a very thorough visit and adjustment, he gave me some stretching exercises and other things I could do to help nurse it back to health.  On Friday, I did a follow-up with Dr. Leah and was feeling much better. She used Rapid Fire on me at the end of the adjustment to relieve some of the soreness. Rapid Fire is a spray (similar to Biofreeze) made with essential oils that can be used to relieve sore muscles. It’s amazing.


What’s the lesson? If you have a job where you have to sit at a desk or you are in a car for an extended period of time, there are some ways to make sure you don’t end up feeling how I felt. I’ll share my tips I’ve learned from the doctors on how to prevent and treat yourself when you have neck pain.


Seriously. This pillow rocks!
  1. I LOVE this pillow! It’s a Sitback Rest Lumbar Support Cushion. I use it at the office and when I am driving in my car. It helps support the natural curve of the spine and honestly, I hate sitting in a chair without it. We have some at the clinic if you want to check it out.
  2. Get up to walk around every 10-15 minutes to counteract the effects of sitting. There are a lot of people that download an app or set a timer on their phone to remind them to move!
  3. A tennis or lacrosse ball is a great way to do self-massage. Dig that ball into the sore area and let it sit there for 30-45 seconds. It may hurt a little but you will start to feel some relief with repetition. If you’re curious on how to use it, stop in and we can show you!
  4. Slowly dangle your head from the bed. Say what? That’s right. This was one that helped me immensely. Dr. Lee shared to start at a 10 degree angle for 30-45 seconds and slowly dangle the head at a more angled degree. It helps stretch things out and relieve pain. Ignore my hand in the left photo, make sure to relax!
  5. See your chiropractor! If you are doing something strenuous or feel “lucky” that you are not sore, it’s still a good idea to be seen. You don’t want to feel how I felt. Trust me!

Here’s a great article about what sitting does to the body:  http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/05/08/sitting-too-long.aspx





Now what? What’s your why?

There’s an interesting thing that happens when people reach goals. People tend to stop what they were doing once it’s reached. I once heard a speaker talk about marathon runners and how a good portion of 1st time runners never run a marathon again after their first one.

Running 26.2 miles is no easy task. If it was, there would be little effort that would need to be put in to accomplishing one. I mean we’re talking working out 5-6 times a week, long runs, strength training, nutrition changes, and countless hours of blood, sweat and tears.

This doesn’t just happen with running. It happens with all sorts of health and wellness goals. Losing weight. Eating healthier. Getting more active. You name it. So why do we tend to throw it all away after we’ve accomplished a significant goal?

Well, research says it’s typically a few reasons:

  1. There was no new goal set:  You’ve worked so hard accomplishing the current goal that you haven’t thought about what’s next. What is going to be the next goal you achieve? It doesn’t need to be something big but how will you hold yourself accountable so you continue your journey?downgrade your dream.jpg
  2. A habit hasn’t been formed yet:  We are the sum of our daily habits. We are what we repeatably do. Have you heard these sayings before? Whether it’s food, fitness or just overall well-being, we have to continue our daily habits and be consistent for us to maintain what we’ve earned. If you are looking to learn more about habits, James Clear and Gretchen Ruben are great authors to look for.
  3. The real “why” isn’t there: Why did you start your initial goal to begin with? All of us have a deeper meaning to why we set health and wellness goals other to lose weight or complete a race. There’s a deeper mental reason as to why we are motivated to do things. Is it to make your family proud? Is it to finally feel good about the body you’re in? Is it to prove to everyone that told you it couldn’t be done that it can? WHAT IS IT? Search deep within yourself and I know there’s a “why” there. Find it!

Now, get moving!





Wellness Profile: Dr. Leah

Ever wonder how the Spencer Chiropractic & Wellness Team stays on track with fitness and nutrition? Periodically we’ll each share how we manage to stay on track. Here’s a look at Dr. Leah’s Wellness Profile.

What type of fitness do you enjoy? Why?

Dr. Leah with her mom, Pat and sister-in-law, Katy at Sacred Heart’s Run for the Son 5K/10K.

My first love will always be the team sports that I started playing as a kid and continued throughout college and today- volleyball and softball.  I thrive on competition and I am very confident with my abilities on the court and on the field (probably too confident sometimes).  It doesn’t even feel like a workout at the time but I definitely feel it afterwards.  I also enjoy pushing myself and accomplishing something that isn’t easy for me, like a triathlon or 10K.

How do you stay on track with nutrition? What are your favorite healthy foods? What guidelines do you live by?

I stay on track with nutrition by planning ahead.  I bought a chalkboard for our kitchen and try to plan out the week.  Of course it never goes the way I plan it, but at least I have a plan in place.  My favorite healthy foods are buffalo chicken salads, roasted veggies especially Brussels sprouts, and the domesticman.com’s chicken nuggets, which are just like Chick-fil-a but better for you.

What’s the biggest motivator for you to stay on your health and wellness journey? How do you stay focused?

Dr. Lee & Dr. Leah with their two kids, Tyler (5) & Jenna (3).

I have a couple motivating factors for me to stay focused on exercising and healthy eating. The first is my family.  More than anything I want my kids, especially my daughter, to learn from me that it’s not about being skinny, it’s about loving yourself so much that you want to respect it by exercising and eating healthy foods that fuel us.   The second motivating factor is the profession I chose.  I believe that I have a responsibility to my patients- if I am going to talk the talk, I need to walk the walk.  I can’t expect people to take me seriously and listen to what I have to say if I don’t follow my own advice and teachings.

Having a specific goal really helps me out, because then I have something to reach for.  I am also loving the challenge groups that our office does.  Having that extra support really helps to motivate me to stay on track.

Good luck on your journey –

Dr. Leah

Life: A Not So Balanced Act

Let’s be honest. We’ve got a lot of responsibilities and a lot of pressures as adults.

Jobs. Bills. Budgets. Family. Friends. Healthy Eating. Exercising. Doctor’s Appointments. Deadlines. Events. Evening Activities. Cooking. Cleaning.

Are you exhausted or overwhelmed yet? 
Then we read articles or see news features on these men or women (especially women) who seemingly have it all together or “balance” it all. I would find myself trying these strategies at home and work and then feeling bad because I wasn’t “balancing” the way that society told me to do it. How crazy is this?work-life balance

Why do we continually compare ourselves to unrealistic expectations? Or expectations that don’t fit our lifestyle? I was sitting in a meeting where the head of the department had us do an exercise about balance. We had to pick between two options (early bird or night owl, 40 hours a week or 8:00-4:30, projects or tasks, etc.). Once she gave us the two options, we had to go to one side of the room or the other for which option fit us best. As the group picked each answer, it started to become very apparent that all of us were SO different in what worked best for us. Of course, that was her point. 🙂

I remember her saying, “Balance is different for everyone. You have to look at yourself and decide what balance looks like for you. Never compare yourself to others. As long as you work hard and do your job, we will support whatever balance works best for you.”

What an incredibly freeing feeling. I had never thought about it that way. She told us to ask ourselves one question anytime we felt overwhelmed with our personal and professional lives, “Where is the most important place I should be?” If it’s being with a sick kid who needs his mommy, be there. If it’s staying up a little late after putting the kids to bed to finish an important project, do it. If it’s having a much needed date night with my husband and getting a sitter for the kids, schedule it.

Is it “balanced” this way? Ha! Never. I don’t even use the word balance anymore. It’s life! Period. Explanation Point. End of story. Be where you are needed most.

And frankly…I wouldn’t have it any other way.







You are only limited by what you think are your limits!

As most of you know, I have been training for a half marathon. I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s been probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. It’s a true example of if you follow the plan, you will see results. I’m honestly amazed at how strong my body has gotten and how determined I am to make this happen.

hal higdon workout
My workout schedule posted on the bathroom door. No excuses!

Is the training hard? Of course! There are days when all I want to do is sit on the couch or

lay in bed  but instead I look at that schedule taped on my wall and do the workout that’s listed. I don’t always do them in the order or day suggested but you better believe it happens.

I’ve done training for runs before (nothing at this distance) and there’s always been a point where I think I can’t do it anymore, stopped training and put limits on how far I thought I could go. When I look back to those times, I’ve been trying to figure out what has been the difference this time. What has enabled me to go past what “I thought” was my limit?

Here’s the difference: I’ve put ZERO limits on what I can do.

None of these phrases have come out of my mouth this time:

“This is impossible.”

8.5 mile run
Longest run to date. Felt awesome!

“I can’t do this.”

“I don’t have time for this run.”

“I’ll stop at 6 miles and call it good.”

“I’m tired. I deserve to skip a workout.”

“My legs are sore. I better slow down.”

“It’s too windy out today. It’s raining. It’s cold.”


I’ve given nothing but positive self-talk the WHOLE TIME. When I run, I think about every little girl/boy that has been told they couldn’t do something. I think about my younger self who struggled running 3 miles in track practice. I think about people that don’t have the ability to run due to illness, injury or impediment. I think about the fact that someday I may not be able to run.

why not you
One of my favorite quotes!

With every mile, I tell myself, “You do this.” It’s almost as if I’m the little engine that could saying, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” I knew I could.

You are only limited by what you think are your limits. My philosophy? Make your life limitless! What would you do if you didn’t have limits?





Fed Up! The Myth About Nutrition

fedupAbout a year ago, I watched a documentary that changed EVERYTHING.A good friend of mine was going on a journey of eliminating as much processed food as possible from her family’s lifestyle. I was somewhat baffled at the time not really knowing why she was doing it or what she meant by “processed food”.

I chatted with her at length one day about the steps she had taken and was shocked at some of the facts and figures she shared with me. She handed me a DVD with the title, Fed Up!, and said, “You need to watch this.”

I waited a few weeks to watch it as I wanted a time when I would be uninterrupted and could really listen to what was being said. You can imagine how hard that was with two small kids in the house. One afternoon all the stars aligned with nap time so I knew it was time to watch it.

Here’s the trailer: Fed Up!

It was numbing to watch it. It was incredibly informative but it was also scary. I sat there thinking, “How did I not know this?”

Since the 1970’s, we’ve been told that FAT is the enemy. All of the sudden we saw products that were low fat, fat-free or zero fat. You know what happens when you take fat out of food? It tastes horrible! What did the food industry do to it to make it taste better? They loaded it with sugar! Fat is not the enemy. Sugar is!

Here’s what excess sugar does to our bodies: Sugar

Start looking at food labels. What part of the label do you read? While it’s important to read the entire label (or just buy foods that don’t have labels), start paying attention to the carbohydrates.

Did you know that 4 grams of carbohydrates = 1 teaspoon of sugar? Next time you look at a label, figure out net carbohydrates. How do you do that? food label

Take Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber (fiber counteracts carbs) = Net Carbs

Net Carbs divided by 4 = Total Teaspoons of Sugar

Once you start doing it, you will be amazed! And I’m just scratching the surface here.

You might be wondering at this point, “Wow. What do I do?” There are many things you can do!

  1. Watch the documentary. I’m telling you. It’s a game changer. You will learn so much.
  2. Be a curious shopper! Start reading labels on your food. If there is an ingredient you don’t recognize or added sugar (there are many names for it), stay away!
  3. Educate yourself. Look up the different names for sugar. Find recipes that have real food in them. Read as much as you can about nutrition and healthy foods.
  4. Try a Whole 30. This diet is based off a book called, “It Starts with Food.” The book is fantastic if you’re looking to learn more about nutrition. We’ve made several Whole 30 recipes here at the office so we could answer any questions you have.

We’ll continue to write about this but wanted to give you a basis for why we are so passionate about trying to educate and communicate the importance of nutrition to our community. Stay tuned! I’m sure we will talk more about this!

Enjoy this Beautiful Weather!




Being Healthy Is Not The Norm

I was recently talking with one of our Ideal Protein clients about the world that we live in today. She mentioned the temptations that are around us and how everyone seems to give her a hard time when she is eating healthy at social events. I remember looking at her and saying, “What you are doing is not normal. Being healthy, unfortunately, is not considered the norm in today’s society. You have to focus on why YOU are doing this and forget about what the rest of the world thinks.” She immediately nodded her head and said, “Yes! That’s so true!”

Think about it. Have you walked down the aisles of grocery stores lately? Entered a gas station? Passed by a fast food restaurant? We are surrounded by junk! Chips, candy bars, soda, cookies, cakes, and processed food galore! There are so many horrible choices around us that it’s no wonder we have an obesity problem in this country. Sometimes as I’m walking through the store with my kids, I just get frustrated because I know we can do better and be better.

And here’s the icing on the cake (no pun intended)…

Once someone realizes they are ready to make a lifestyle change, they are bombarded with all these different choices on how they should or should not lose weight. We have literally never been taught what foods we should eat and how our body loses fat. In next week’s blog, I’ll write a little more about how your body loses fat. 


All we obsess with is the rapid transformation, the quick fix and the skinny pictures of people we see on TV and social media. We are bombarded with images of unrealistic bodies and how we “should” look when we lose weight. 35c44ebdc2fc5d86f9aac17c51f03198

FACT: You were created uniquely and differently than everyone else on Earth. Embrace it! We all have different body types. We all lose weight differently. Think about what makes YOU feel healthy. Don’t let others judge you for making healthy choices. This is your opportunity to educate and be different. Normal nowadays is unhealthy…be weird!

I love this quote because it’s so true! Would you rather make healthy choices and feel good from the inside out OR look in the mirror every day and not like what you see? You are so worth it! Stick to your plan and I PROMISE you’ll see results.

Have a great rest of the week!


*Ideal Protein is the weight loss and weight maintenance method we use here at the clinic. It was actually designed by a group of doctors and focuses on cutting down on carbohydrates so your body can get into fat burning mode. It is scientifically backed and we’ve seen incredible results!

Just Breathe

just breatheA recent article in Shape magazine said that 16 seconds of meditating each day is all it takes to change your brain in ways that make you happier, more present and less frazzled.

Got stress? Nowadays it feels like there is a lot of stress in our world. We worry about keeping our kids safe, about a new promotion, losing the weight, paying off the student loan and saving for retirement. These are just a few among the MANY stressors in our lives.

Did you know in the early days of the humans they used stress for survival? It was a protective response to make sure they lived.

  • A lion appears across the plain > you feel stressed > you run away > your stress is relieved.
  • A storm rumbles in the distance > you worry about finding shelter > you find shelter > your anxiety is relieved.
  • You haven’t drank any water today > you feel stressed and dehydrated > you find water > your stress is relieved.

In fact, humans at this time didn’t really have chronic stress. They didn’t really have any uncertainty and lived more in the moment. They had to in order to survive. Today there are so many uncertain things in our lives that for many of us, it can be too much to bear.

We know we can’t get rid of the uncertainty. What do we do? A couple questions I always ask myself is, “What good is it going to do for me to worry about this? Is anything going to change if I sit here and worry about this all night?” These seem to put things in perspective for me and I move on.

A couple others that have been suggested are:

1. Measure Something. You don’t know if you are going to get the promotion but you can track how many quality projects you produce and how many relationships you build. You don’t know how much money you will have in retirement but you can track how much you put into savings each month.

The people that are the most successful in life and have the least stress are those that track which direction their life is going: one conversation at time. As told in one of my favorite books on the planet, Fierce Conversations, our lives are moving in one direction or another one conversation at a time. If you don’t feel things are going well, course correct and fix it. It’s never too late to make things right.

2. Shift Worry: Shift your worry from a long-term problem to a change in daily routine. Worry about living a long, healthy life? Start to walk daily and make good food choices. Instead of worrying about whether your child is getting a college scholarship, make sure they are studying every night. There are many ways we can shift focus to make sure our current actions are affecting our future.

Another great one for me is just breathing. Go ahead and give it a try: Take a deep breath for four counts and hold it for four, then slowly exhale for four and pause for a final four. Those 16 seconds of meditating might just be the one thing you need to clear your mind and move forward. And who doesn’t have 16 seconds?

So there’s your homework. Now go do it!

Happy Monday!


We Are the Sum of Our Daily Habits

I read an article a long time ago about habit formation and found it completely fascinating. It basically talked about the habit formation cycle (pictured below) and the fact that everything we become is the sum of our daily habits.

How do you become fit and healthy? The sum of your daily habits.

How do you find happiness and contentment? The sum of your daily habits.

How do you become a healthy eater? The sum of your daily habits.

“You are what you repeatedly do.”

I’ve struggled the past couple weeks with healthy eating. I do fine with breakfast and lunch. Then dinner hits and I eat things I wouldn’t normally eat. At first, I was having a hard time pointing my finger to why I was doing this. Then, I realized a few different things.

  1. My meal prepping and planning was not on point liked it normally is. The weekend is usually meal prep time and it’s safe to say the last few weekends had gotten away from me. Meal prepping saves so much time and headaches. I realize this even more when I’m not prepared!
  2. There were sweets in the house. I’m a firm believer that if you know it’s a temptation for you; don’t buy it! If it’s there, you are more likely to eat it. Let’s face it. If you don’t need it, the rest of your family doesn’t need it either. They may not like you for it sometimes but it’s for their own good!
  3. We always tell our weight loss clients to take it one meal at a time. I wasn’t doing that. I was starting to mesh all my meals up together and say to myself, “Well, I already had a bad snack this afternoon so that gives me permission to have a not so healthy supper.” Eating healthy is a mental game you are going to play with yourself for the rest of your life. One bad meal isn’t going to mess up your goals. Now…A whole week of bad meals could start to take down the wrong course.
  4. I was letting food be my boredom activity. You know that feeling where you are in the house and you start to look through the cabinets like gold is hidden in there somewhere? Yeah…that’s boredom. Walk away from the kitchen and find an activity to do. If it’s really bad, leave the house and do something! Except go to a restaurant or gas station. : ) Go for a walk. Take a bike ride somewhere. Go for a drive with your family. Visit a park. Do a crafting project with your kids. Do what you gotta do to avoid the temptation! Worst case scenario: Ask yourself, “Am I hungry enough to eat broccoli?” If the answer is yes, have some broccoli! If no, you’re not hungry, you’re just bored! Sometimes dehydration is disguised as hunger. Have a glass of water and see how you feel afterwards.

So, here I am being TOTALLY honest with you about my journey AND committing to starting fresh. It’s a new week. I’ve got my meal prepping and planning under control. My daily habits are in check to make good decisions. The good news? I’ve been crushing my workouts. Now it’s time to focus on both!

Here’s a link to the article I read: http://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change

habit formation



A Little Travel. A Little Sickness.

fallingOne of the most common sentences we hear at the clinic is, “I had to travel for a few days and fell off the wagon, ” or “I got sick and threw everything out the window.” Have you said one of these sentences before? Sometimes it’s the smallest things that get us off track when it comes to fitness and nutrition.

I recently traveled to Minnesota to teach a class and there is always a TON of temptation when I go there. People wanting to take me out to dinner or go for a drink. Lunch being brought in that isn’t so healthy. Dessert flying around like nobody’s business.

After the trip, I was feeling great! Then Sunday hit and I felt like I had gotten hit by a truck. Pretty sure I got some sort of stomach bug. Could barely move and my whole body just ached. Why am I telling you this? Well, this is typically the type of week where someone would completely destroy their fitness and nutrition plan.

My advice to you: Don’t let that happen! I know it may feel easy to give up or you may lose willpower but you’re going to feel even worse if you lose all the progress you made. I love this quote by Jillian Michaels.

slash tires

Here are a few tips I’ve learned through traveling over the years and getting sick (which pretty much happens to all of us):

  1. Put your game face on: If you know you are going somewhere that is going to have temptation, you have to know how you are going to handle it in advance. Know you’re going to a restaurant? Check out the menu you in advance OR have a healthy snack in advance and pick the healthiest item you can find on the menu. Spending a bunch of time in the car? Pack healthy snacks so you don’t get tempted by all the unhealthy places you drive by. Got asked to bring food? Bring a healthy food or make something you don’t even like.
  2. Stay positive: When you’re sick, it can feel like it is never going to go away. If you’ve missed a workout, you may feel like you’re plan is all out of whack. There are several studies that show people who have a positive attitude and remain focused are able to rebound twice as fast as those that sit there and wallow. Celebrate every small win throughout the day. It may be as little as you were able to keep some food down or you drank your water for the day. Pat yourself on the back and say, “I did it! Good job me!”
  3. Listen to your body: Your body is a great indicator of what you can and cannot handle. If you feel yourself getting overworked, learn when to give your body a rest. Sometimes it can cause more harm than good to continue working out when you really shouldn’t be. I learned the hard way this weekend. I decided to run on Sunday morning even though I already didn’t feel good and it made it ten times worse! Make sure you take the rest your body deserves.
  4. No binging: You went to the restaurant, look at the menu and see about 20 items you want to stuff your face with. One cheat meal doesn’t mean an all out binge. Trust me. You won’t feel good mentally or physically. It’s not worth it! One rule of thumb I always remember is to take a little breather between each bite. It takes time for your stomach to send the signal to your brain that you are eating and getting full. Give it time to respond! You’d be amazed at how much faster you feel full and you can avoid the all out binge. A friend of mine used to order her food and then would ask for a to go box right away. She would split the meal in half and immediately put it in the box to take back to the hotel room for the next night.
  5. Request what you need: Don’t know how your meal is being cooked? Ask! Most restaurants are willing to cook your food the way you need it to be cooked. If you’re offered two sides, ask to double up on the salad or if there is a veggie that can be steamed up for you. The worst that could happen is they could say no.
  6. Keep going!: You messed up? You gave into temptation? You missed a workout? So what! You’re human. Shake it off. Get a good night’s rest and start over the next day. One bad day isn’t going to mess up everything. The most important thing you can do is stay focused, bounce right back and keep going!

You got this. I’m already feeling better and back on track.