Posts Tagged ‘Chicago

Run Gary, run!

- October 24th, 2013

He’s a friend, colleague, mentor … and one heck of an inspiration.

Gary Poignant, veteran news editor at the Edmonton Sun, ran his 24th marathon earlier this month in Chicago.

Chicago 2013

Gary Poignant post-race. (Photo by Linda Snydmiller-Poignant)

Gary, alluding to the above photo, said he was “in desperate need of a couple of toothpicks to keep my eyes open after the marathon.”

He was sporting pink shoe laces to highlight the fact that he was raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Chicago 2013 046

The scene near the halfway point of Gary’s run. (Photo by Linda Snydmiller-Poignant)

“I deliberately behaved like a jogging tourist in a sea of 40,000 other runners,” Gary told me, “finishing with a smile on my face in a personal worst time of 4 hours and 18 minutes. Truly a magical morning.”

Now for the back story, which is the truly inspiring part.

Here’s a column that Gary wrote 15 years ago about his painful struggle with arthritis (which is now in remission) …

Thursday, October 1, 1998

OVERPOWERED BY PAIN

NATUROPATH GIVES RELIEF TO SUN STAFFER WHO WAS BEDRIDDEN WITH ARTHRITIS

BY GARY POIGNANT, EDMONTON SUN

This is the story of my great escape from the jaws of excruciating pain. Namely — arthritis. Joint pain so severe that one day last April I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t get dressed. And, obviously, I couldn’t go to work.

My knees were the worst. My feet simply throbbed. My right hand, right elbow and right shoulder also ached.

This form of arthritis — diagnosed as ankylosing spondylitis when it first hit me five years ago — was back and it was all-consuming.

Some days were better than others. But most days were simply brutal.

Attempting to manoeuvre down a flight of stairs had become a ridiculously difficult chore.

For a 41-year-old guy who had always been very active, this was tearing me apart emotionally.

All I could do for exercise was limp to the pool and perform a very slow breaststroke.

What was especially maddening was that the prescription medication that was supposed to make me feel better appeared to be making things worse.

I was receiving a weekly injection of methotrexate, a couple of anti-inflammatories a day along with several Tylenol 3 daily to ease the pain.

And despite assurances from rheumatologists for more than six months that these drugs would eventually start to ease the pain, I was feeling worse.

Time for a change, I thought.

I threw caution to the wind, found a naturopath in the Yellow Pages and booked an appointment.

I initially told Dr. Wayne Steinke I wanted immediate relief and would simply pay for a couple of acupuncture sessions.

He took one look at me, heard the standard life history and said, “You don’t need acupuncture. You need to change your diet.”

Steinke explained my body and joints were full of toxins and to get rid of them I needed to eliminate certain things from my diet.

As it turned out — it included nearly everything. No red meat. No sugar.

No alcohol. No coffee. No tomatoes. No dairy products. No wheat.

When trying to walk makes you cringe, you’re willing to try anything.

Steinke added several supplements to the mix — including flaxseed oil and an assortment of vitamins. I had already been taking vitamin C, garlic pills and fish oil pills.

He told me to stick with the diet, eat only the foods allowed — which included fish, chicken, rice and fresh fruit — and give it a month.

Sounded fine. Besides, I was too uncomfortable to be skeptical.

Within three weeks the pain began to ease.

I had stopped taking the methotrexate, had cut out the Tylenol and was down to just one anti-inflammatory a day.

The prescription drugs — which can harm the liver and kidneys with long-term use — had been making me feel sluggish.

By June I was able to ride a bicycle and was taking an anti-inflammatory every couple of days.

By late July, I was able to comfortably walk nine holes of golf and I was taking an anti-inflammatory every week or so.

I haven’t had an anti-inflammatory since early August and I have complete use of my joints again.

I can now walk up and down stairs without trouble. I can cycle 30 km and feel refreshed afterwards.

So what is going on with my body?

Why am I feeling so much better?

The rheumatologist I had been seeing simply says the arthritis is in remission.

“Keep your fingers crossed, it could come back at any time,” he says.

He could be right, because in 1993 when I was first diagnosed the arthritic symptoms left completely after eight months — but only after a change in diet and an assortment of natural remedies from a different naturopath.

Steinke has a different view, thankfully.

He says what I’ve managed to do over the past several months is reduce the toxicity in my body through a combination of improved diet, vitamin supplements and exercise.

“What you’ve done is improve the overall terrain and environment in your body,” he said, explaining people who suffer from arthritis have difficulty metabolizing food.

“It all comes down to what you do and don’t put in your body.

“This has allowed the cells in your body to work the way they should.

“This in turn improves your autoimmune system.”

Steinke says what has happened is my body has been allowed to fix itself over the past several months.

His theory certainly seems to hold true whenever I try to add certain foods to the mix.

The day after eating either tomatoes, bread or sugar, I feel pain in my joints. Thankfully, it’s not that severe and it’s usually gone within 24 hours.

Oddly, I can safely have the occasional beer or coffee without any noticeable problems.

There is still some mild tenderness in my knees, but the pain is virtually gone. I’m working at building the strength back up in my joints and enjoying my new-found freedom.

So am I out of the woods? Will the arthritis strike again?

The rheumatologist, of course, says it’s simply a matter of time before it returns.

Steinke, however, says if I stick closely to the diet, I’m destined to keep those pains away indefinitely. That’s a recipe I can live with.

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Like I said, Gary’s one heck of an inspiration. Run Gary, run!

Vince Vaughn’s fit mom releases Breakthrough book

- October 9th, 2011
Shea Vaughn Breakthrough

Vince Vaughn's mom, Shea Vaughn, has a new health and fitness book out.

Shea Vaughn is a certified personal trainer whose clients include Chicago Bear teammates and Oprah executives.

She’s also Vince Vaughn’s mom.

This month, Shea is launching her book Breakthrough: The 5 Living Principles to Defeat Stress, Look Great, and Find Total Well-Being.

Here’s the press release:

Fit Body + Fit Mind = Complete Fulfillment

East-meets-West health expert and celebrity mom customizes breakthrough lifestyle program for women

“I’m grateful my mom took the time to share her passion in this book. Her work ethic and optimism have always inspired me.” — Vince Vaughn, actor

“I practice internal medicine. What I found in SheaNetics was a program that improved my strength, increased my flexibility, and reduced stress. — Michael Sommerfeld, M.D. internal medicine

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Vince and Shea Vaughn

CHICAGO — Shea Vaughn, mother of actor Vince Vaughn, is a 25-year veteran of the fitness industry. As a fitness expert, professional trainer and wellness coach, Vaughn has become a spokeswoman for creating well-being at any age with her upcoming book Breakthrough: The 5 Living Principles to Defeat Stress, Look Great, and Find Total Well-Being (October 2011, HCI Books).

What Vaughn discovered, from both fitness training and personal experience, is that women over 45 often feel like they are spinning their wheels and failing to live up to their own expectations. She says the problem is a lack of a mind-body connection, which can lead to depression, discouragement, disconnect, and deflation in body, mind, and heart.

In Breakthrough, Vaughn offers women her Five Living Principles, along with a self-styled East-meets-West lifestyle, wellness and exercise practice developed from her decades of training in many disciplines and influenced by eastern philosophy, tailored to address specific issues facing women over 45.

The Five Living Principles of Well-Being: Commitment, Perseverance, Self-Control, Integrity, and Love, are an inspirational force in helping me create a positive lifestyle with a healthy body and the supportive mental and emotional paradigm to deal with changing and demanding times, says Vaughn. One encourages the other and together they help you find balance, self-confidence and a personal state of well-being.

Vaughn herself is no stranger to this phenomenon: a mother and entrepreneur, she has had similar personal challenges which led her to find a new way of living, including reconnecting her emotional health with her physical health and founding Sheanetics, a revolutionary blend of ancient and contemporary values and movements that deliver a powerful mind-body experience. Followers of this practice get in shape, feel great and naturally make life-healthy choices

From recipes for well-being to creating your safe space to meditation in motion and thought, Breakthrough offers a jumpstart for women looking to redefine their way of life in a sustainable way.

SHEA VAUGHN (www.sheanetics.com) is a certified personal trainer whose clients include Chicago Bear teammates and Oprah executives. Trained in ballet, Tai-Chi, martial arts, ZUMBA, yoga, pilates and more, Vaughn is well-versed in Eastern practices, including meditation for growth and stress reduction. Her DVD workouts have been featured on QVC and she has appeared on national and local television, radio, and in print media. She lives in Chicago and lectures nationally.

Healthy habits good for heart: study

Cary Castagna – September 22nd, 2011

File this under: “Well, d’uh!”

A new study confirms that a healthy lifestyle is … good for the ol’ ticker!

Really. You don’t say?!

Here’s the press release, which is rather redundant in my humble opinion but still worth posting — for a few guffaws at the very least:

heartHealthy Lifestyle Habits Lower Heart Failure Risk

Study Highlights:

• Adults who don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, get regular physical activity and eat vegetables lowered their heart failure risk.

• Each additional healthy behaviour helped to decrease heart failure risk.

• Healthcare workers should discuss and encourage healthy lifestyle habits with patients.

* * *

DALLAS (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — If you don’t smoke, aren’t
 overweight, get regular physical activity and eat vegetables, you can
 significantly reduce your risk for heart failure, according to research 
reported in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association 
journal.

In a new study, people who had one healthy lifestyle behavior decreased 
their heart failure risk, and each additional healthy behavior further
 decreased their risk.

 Heart failure affects about 5.7 million Americans. At age 40, a
 person’s lifetime risk of developing heart failure is one in five.

“Any steps you take to stay healthy can reduce your risk of heart 
failure,” said Gang Hu, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and 
director of the Chronic Disease Epidemiology Laboratory at the
 Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.

“Hypothetically, about half of new heart failure cases occurring in
 this population could have been prevented if everyone engaged in at
 least three healthy lifestyle behaviors.”

Previous research has shown an association between healthy lifestyle
 behaviors and lower risk of heart failure in men. The new study is the 
first to find a similar connection in women.

Researchers followed 18,346 men and 19,729 women from Finland who were
 25 to 74 years old. During a median follow-up of 14.1 years, 638 men
 and 445 women developed heart failure. Participants were classified by
 BMI: normal weight (less than 25 kg/m2); overweight (25-29.9 kg/m2);
 and obese (greater than 30 kg/m2).

After adjusting for heart failure risk factors, such as high blood 
pressure, diabetes and a past heart attack, researchers found:

• Male smokers had an 86% higher risk for heart failure compared to never-smokers. Women smokers’ risk increased to 109%.

• Being overweight increased heart failure risk by 15% in men and
 21% in women compared to normal-weight people. The risk increased to 75% for obese men and 106% for obese women.

• Moderate physical activity reduced the risk of heart failure by 21% in men and 13% in women compared to a light physical activity level. High levels of physical activity lowered the risk even
 further: 33% in men and 36% in women.

• Eating vegetables three to six times per week decreased heart failure risk by 26% in men and 27% in women compared to those who ate vegetables less than once per week.

Furthermore, the more healthy lifestyle behaviors a person engaged in,
 the greater the decline in risk. Engaging in all four healthy lifestyle
 behaviors decreased the risk for heart failure by 70% in men and
 81% in women, compared to 32% in men and 47% in
 women who engaged in only one healthy behavior.

Many people remain unaware of the link between unhealthy lifestyle
 behaviors and heart failure risk, researchers said.

 Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart 
muscle is unable to pump enough blood through the heart to meet the
 body’s needs for blood and oxygen. Basically, the heart can’t keep up
 with its workload.

“Healthcare workers should discuss healthy lifestyle habits with their 
patients and stress that they can do more,” Hu said.

The Finnish Academy and Special Research Funds of the Social Welfare
and Health Board, City of Oulu funded the study. 

Co-authors are Yujie Wang, M.Sc.; Jaakko Tuomilehto, M.D., Ph.D.; Pekka
 Jousilahti, M.D., Ph.D.; Riitta Antikainen, M.D., Ph.D.; and Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Ph.D. Author
 disclosures are on the manuscript.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart
 Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors 
and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position.
 The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their 
accuracy or reliability.

The association receives funding primarily 
from individuals; foundations and corporations (including
 pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make
 donations and fund specific association programs and events. The
 association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from
 influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and
 device corporations are available at
 www.americanheart.org/corporatefunding.

For more information, tools and resources for living healthy and
 reducing your risk for heart disease, including heart failure, visit
 www.MyHeartMyLife.org.

Loser trainer kicks Flywheel butt

- August 12th, 2011

Jillian Michaels, of The Biggest Loser fame, kicked butt Tuesday at Flywheel Sports’ newest location in Chicago.

Here’s some of the photographic evidence:

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Photo credit: Barry Brecheisen Photography

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Photo credit: Barry Brecheisen Photography

Click HERE for more on Flywheel Sports. (Unfortunately, there are no Canadian locations. Yet.)

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