The Superhero Returns!

Back in action!

Hey, everybody!  I’M BACK!

I haven’t posted for a few months because I haven’t been well, but I’m happy to say that I am now fully recovered.  This spring, I developed some benign but painful complications from my hysterectomy last year, which required surgical intervention. While my incredible team of doctors took superb care of me (thank you, Sloan-Kettering), my recovery kept me in bed for a couple of weeks, and then even more time before I was cleared to exercise again.  Right when I was ready to get back in the game, I got sidelined again – this time by bad headaches and fatigue – and my doctor confirmed Lyme disease!  (I should really play the lottery – I’m due for some good luck by now, right?)

Anyway, after a month-long dose of tough antibiotics (and some extra rest) I was fully healed, and this Superhero was ready to throw on her cape again!  But I was surprised to find that my grand return was overshadowed by some shyness and trepidation.  I had been ill for so long, did I really remember what it felt like to be capable of vigorous exercise?  I had made Club Fit my second home for so many months, and coming back after a long absence felt strange – like visiting friends who live in an apartment that you used to rent.  It’s so familiar, but you don’t inhabit it like you used to. I was nervous about getting on a spin bike, lifting a weight, or taking a class.  My nerves were getting the better of me, big-time, and I felt like I was starting all over again and didn’t know where to begin.

My first trip back to Club Fit was for an appointment with my trainer (Jenn!), which I was really looking forward to. I knew that no amount of self-doubt would keep me from this appointment, and the safety net of having someone paying personal attention to me was very reassuring.  (Jenn would most certainly be able to identify if I was doing something wrong, or pushing myself too hard.)  We ended up having an amazing session where I did MORE than I thought I could, and the slight soreness I felt later on that week was a happy reminder that I had overcome my emotional setbacks and done something healthy for myself.

It feels so good to be back on the right track again. See you at the club!

Meet Mary Wu

Good health has always been a priority in my life due to my congenital and complex medical history of renal agenesis and left hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and avascular necrosis. Both diagnoses resulted in peritoneal dialysis, two kidney transplants from deceased donors at 5-years-old and then 12-years-old, left hip replacement, a lifetime of immunosuppressant/anti-rejection medications and its multiple side effects, and sporadic muscle spasms.

For years, I kept my medical challenges a secret out of fear and a desire to just belong and be “normal.” However, my life was forever changed in the best of ways in 2010 when I signed up as a spectator at the Transplant Games held in Madison, Wisconsin. The experience of seeing transplant recipients competing to showcase the power of organ donation and transplantation and honoring organ donor families in this extraordinary, biannual Olympic-style event completely transformed my life.  This one experience ignited my organ donation and transplant advocacy work. I began to open up and share with the public through speaking events, volunteer work with various organ donation and transplant organizations, and written articles about my organ donation and transplant story and the REAL facts of organ donation and transplantation as a way to encourage anyone and everyone to become a life-saving and registered organ donor just by visiting “Donate Life America” at www.donatelife.net– please do register as a life-saving organ donor!

In 2012, the Transplant Games of America were held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I decided to finally participate as a competitive athlete in the swimming division, specifically in 100 free and 50 free. Swimming had always been ‘my sport’ to alleviate my arthritic body pain and fulfill the water lover in me. At that time, I had only been a “Club Fit” member for roughly a year, and I primarily kept to myself. I was very serious about my athletic participation in the Transplant Games of America, and so I contacted Club Fit to locate any personal trainers who understood my medical challenges in relation to improving my physical stamina and strength for competitive swimming. Club Fit immediately, enthusiastically, and happily stepped up to my request and assigned me two outstanding personal trainers: Beth Kear for the swim competition portion and Leslie Kesselman for building up my very weak core and muscle tone. I can only shower both of them with the utmost praise for the patience, personal fitness, encouragement, and techniques that they gave me during training!! I learned from my weekly and diligent sessions with them that athletic competing contains the strongest link and connection between both physical and mental health! Thanks to them and Club Fit, I gained the mental and physical confidence and strength that I needed! They were so supportive of my personal advocacy endeavors and goals that I ended up doing two team relays for the first time at the Transplant Games of America AND I also ended up winning two bronze medals and a silver medal!! Competing for the first time in my life and winning medals was one of the highest and most exhilarating points of my life!

In April 2013, I finally underwent my twenty-year delayed left hip replacement surgery.  After two months of a very challenging and rough rehabilitation to learn to walk all over again, I was finally able to return to my comfort: Club Fit. I was back to my love for swimming, but my physical therapist instructed me to build up my very weak muscles and core. I turned to Club Fit for inspiration and innovation yet again, and discovered such strength training classes as TRX and Kinesis and core classes as the Abs Class. I fully lucked out when I met personal trainer, Nancy Esposito! Her enthusiasm and methodical teaching methods in Kinesis and TRX had my unused muscles incredibly sore, yet grateful for trying to move and groove again. Again, Club Fit struck again with its uplifting and wondrous ways of building up and bringing my body and health to new leaps and bounds that I never even thought possible!

I learned at a young age that there is nothing more precious and treasured than health, to always live life to the fullest, to always stay positive and have a good attitude, and to never take what I have for granted because anything could be gone in a blink of an eye. I often reflect upon my life and how awesome and awe-inspiring of a journey it has been so far as an organ donation and transplant advocate and with such major milestones as participating and winning medals in the Transplant Games, being a Donate Life Float Rider at the 123rd Rose Bowl Parade in California, and, most recently, the final completion of my website “The Wu Way” at www.thewuway.com and personal autobiography “Confessions of a Kidney Transplant” that was published as a hard copy book in Spring 2013.

To me, “Health” contains physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects. “Club Fit” encapsulates all of these aspects, and has been my greatest inspiration, motivator, supporter, and advocator in my life and so many others. Joining Club Fit was the best decision I ever made to enhance my overall health of mind, body, and spirit! Thank You, Club Fit, for making such a positive difference in so many lives and especially mine!

Sugar and Slice and Everything Nice!

In short, this Ladies team from Club Fit Briarcliff is just plain awesome! Read about their adventures and accomplishments below in the exchange of a few friendlty emails. Remember, if you have any questions about our Tennis Pro’s or Programs here at the club, don’t hesitate to contact Tennis Director, Rodrigo Schtscherbyna, at rschtscherbyna@wclubfit.com!

A before hand run-down of the matches
A note from Carri Becker:

This team is amazing!!! On the singles court Claire was an absolute machine point after point she just wore her opponent down! She won 6-2 6-0 in record time! (it ‘s a good thing too because I didn’t want her to be too tired for the member / guest tournament tomorrow because she’s my partner!!!lol) Second doubles also played a very speedy match. Joanna was an absolute star at the net as usual and Casandra was extremely consistent. They made quick work of their opponents 6-0 6-2. Fiona and Steady Stacy had an epic battle on their hands. They had the longest match and played extremely well. Every point was super long! Fiona ran every ball down like a pro! Stacy was so consistent that I’m going to call her Steady Stacy from now on! They won the first set 6-4 and lost the 2nd set 4-6. Of course they had to play a super tie breaker on the hottest day of the summer! They fought for every point but the lost the tie breaker 10 to 6.

So now we are 7 and 2! We are still in first place!
Our last match is Monday 7/22 night at club fit at 630pm. I hope everyone can come root us on and celebrate a great season! I will send out a list tomorrow of what refreshments we have and what we need to bring. Big thanks to Coach Adam and Danielle for coming out and supporting the team! I have said it before but I will say it again I’m so proud of our team!

Xoxoxo Carri
PS everyone wish Joanna a good trip!!! Bye miss you!

Dear Sugar& Slice,

What a fun time last night was. Casandra was a great doubles partner, and it was wonderful to play with her!

Carri, I like your idea of team nicknames. Steady Stacy is so appropriate! You clearly get to be Captain Carri because you are a great captain! Always upbeat and positive, always supportive, and super funny! You continue to impress me with your dedication to the team.

I would add Fierce Fiona, Cruise-Missile Claire, and Crusher Casandra.
I think these nicknames speak for themselves on how I think these ladies played yesterday.

Many thanks to Danielle for cheering on the team. Based on yesterday, (with by-the-way her hair looking so awesome), her nickname would have to be Delightful Danielle. Though incredibly spot-on, Delightful is not a moniker that evokes fear in the opponents so I’ll let others decide a more appropriate tennis-team nickname.

Adam, you get to be Coach. You were so proud of us yesterday, and
your ear-to-ear smile showed it. Thank you for helping me (and all
the S&S ladies) during team practices and for helping our team play well.

Thank you all for making my time on this team – my first tennis team
ever – so wonderful! I really have enjoyed the experience. Thank you
for your good wishes on my upcoming trip. I’m sorry I won’t be around
to cheer on the team. I wish for you good opponents, hard-fought
matches, and VICTORY! :-)

Best regards,
Joanna

Skipping Out on Sugars

By: Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN

The amount of sugars being added to the foods we consume on a daily basis has been on a steady rise. Not only is this making all of our foods increasingly sweet but it is also adding to the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Learn just how harmful these added sugars are and some simple tips to help curb your daily consumption!

Where exactly are the added sugars?

Added sugars are exactly that- sugars added to foods that aren’t naturally sweet. Foods that contain natural sugars, such as fruit, are accompanied with a boatload of other nutrients making them healthier alternatives. Added sugars can be found in a variety of items such as soft drinks, energy/sports drinks, cakes, candies, ice cream, pastries and even breakfast cereals! Added sugars provide absolutely no nutrition making them completely void of any health benefit. Be sure to read the ingredient labels of processed foods to be able to identify the source of added sugars. Sugar might be disguised under names such as: cane juice, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated corn sweetener, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, and sucrose—just to name a few!

How will cutting out added sugars benefit me?

For starters, you will be cutting out an enormous amount of calories which can be used towards nutrient-packed foods. This will start to help you shed the pounds and inches off your waistline. Filling up on foods packed with sugar is only providing extra calories with no other nutritional value. By cutting out added sugars, you will be able to have better control of your own blood sugar and triglyceride levels. Controlled blood sugar levels prevent risk of diabetes whereas lowering triglyceride levels will decrease your risk of heart disease. The current USDA guidelines recommend no more than 100 calories per day come from added sugars for women and no more than 150 calories per day for men. That is equivalent of 6 – 9 teaspoons per day. The typical daily intake for Americans is greater than 22 teaspoons, which is a whopping 365 calories!!

What are some simple changes I can make to cut out added sugars?

To reduce the amount of added sugars in your day, try some of these tips:
• Opt for water or calorie-free drinks instead of sugary, non-diet sodas or sports drinks
• Cut back on the amount of sugar you put in your coffee. Slowly downgrading the amount will give your taste buds a chance to adjust to the flavor changes
• Try to choose a breakfast cereal that does not have a sugar listed as the top 3 ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order by weight so having sugar lower on the list will ensure more nutritional benefit
• Choose fresh fruit for dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth instead of high-calorie cakes, cookies, and other treats
• Buy canned fruit packed in water or its own juice, not syrup
• Stock your fridge and pantry with vegetables, low-fat cheeses, whole-grain crackers, and low-fat yogurts as snacks instead of processed products

So, tell me: what are some changes you can make to cut out added sugars?