Breaking the Barrier of your Comfort Zone

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Most of the time here I share things that are specifically related to safety from the perspective of OSHA compliance or Best Practices. Some times it is about some new industry specific focus that is interesting. But today I want to share about something more personal.

Your health!

There are so many factors that affect your overall health, and it can be very overwhelming if you are just getting started. Depending on who you talk to they will all give you “wonderful” advise about the things that you need to do to get or stay “healthy”.

The short list is:

Each of these steps have a million little steps towards success. And they are all tightly intertwined. Which means, if you are even a little bit like me, you can find yourself heading down a rabbit hole from which there is no recovery.

Baby Steps

My advice? Take baby steps. Find one thing that you can change for the better. And work on that one thing until it is your new normal. Then change the next thing. And then the next.

Yes, this is a much slower way to achieve that end goal. BUT, it is also the much more successful way to achieve that end goal.

Build your Team!

Surround yourself with people that are on the same journey and that will hold you accountable. Accountability is the key here. Your team cannot be made entirely of the people that will jump off the cliff with you because you are having a weak moment. There has to be someone that can be counted on to be the ONE strong person in a situation and that will hold everyone else on the team accountable. And it doesn’t mean that the strong person is the same person every time, but that someone will always step up to that position when needed.

  • “I don’t want to work out this morning”
    • Okay, then you have to work out tonight.
  • “I want to eat a cake…and entire cake.”
    • No, you can eat a slice of cake, but you have to get in an extra hour of exercise this week, or swap in a salad for dinner, or…

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable!

Change doesn’t happen when you are comfortable. Change happens when you try new things. So get comfortable being uncomfortable!

That can mean different things for different people, and you have to find your level of uncomfortable. And then get a little more uncomfortable.

Last September there was special that was being offered for people that wanted to join Camp Gladiator. My sister-in-law had joined them the year before and had been talking about how great it was, but my sister-in-law was also in a much different place than I was… she was thinner, fitter, and healthier. So whenever she would talk about us joining I would laugh and say that I wasn’t ready to die. But something clicked, finally, last September and I decided that it was worth trying for at least one month and then I could say I tried, I could quit and I could go back to my old habits….

But since I decided I was crazy enough to jump off that bridge I was going to take some people with me. I convinced my husband, and my coworker and his wife to all join at the same time. Because we are BETTER TOGETHER! And I knew that I needed someone to hold me accountable.

And after we were all signed up we learned that another of our co-workers was already a CG Camper.

Nine Months later…

We have gotten comfortable being uncomfortable. We don’t work out together, but we all work out and we hold each other accountable for those work outs.

  • “Did you go this morning/last night?”
  • “Did you… do burpees? drag a fire hose? run a mile?
  • “Are you signed up for…?”

Did you say “Uncomfortable”?

So, this past weekend we all participated in the Terrain Race – Austin 2019.

Here is proof:

This is me (Renee Ramthun) and my crazy husband (Chris) that supports me in all my insane adventures and goofball ideas. Seriously, I don’t think there is a clean spot on me anywhere.

Here is Damian Alvarez and his wife Melissa. They raced earlier in the day and somehow they seem to have fared better than we did.

Parting statements…

Don’t worry about how far you have to go, or how long the journey will take. Just take the first step. Go for a walk at lunch instead of sitting at your desk. Skip the bread basket. Sign up for a 5k (you are allowed to walk them, and they don’t have to be muddy).

How’s that Summer Body?

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Look, I know that for those of you that know me you are probably wondering why I am the one writing this particular article… since I am a LONG way from my envisioned “summer body”. But, it is that time of year when folks start wondering what happened to all of the New Years Resolutions they set and realizing that summer, and pools, and swim suits are just around the corner and they start to freak out about attaining some goal. So, let’s talk about it.

Say NO to the “Summer Body”

Lose the idea that you need a “summer body”. That mindset is ultimately going to create frustrations in your life. Instead focus on a “healthy body”. True, it does take longer to attain a “healthy body” but by reaching that goal you will also gain a “summer body” and it will last all year long.

Say NO to the fad diets

There are a LOT of them out there. And every single one of them has some great things about them…and some bad things about them. I have probably read every single book and listened to practically every podcast on them so I will keep my opinions on them to myself with exception to the following statements:

  1. Eat REAL food. If it comes in a box or a bag, you should probably avoid it. If it has “ingredients” that you can’t pronounce, you should probably avoid it.
  2. “Fad” diets (for the purposes of this specific discussion) is any diet that you start for the sole purpose of losing a lot of weight and with the full knowledge that you will not stick to that diet for the remainder of your life.

It is easy to say stop eating sugar or carbs or red meat or bananas or …. whatever it is that you aren’t supposed to eat according to this or that… for a week, or a month. But what will you be able to do long term? Every person is built and functions differently, so YOU have to figure out what will work for YOU. Maybe it is low fat/high carb; maybe it is Paleo; maybe it is Keto; maybe it is the “aliens diet from mars”…. Whatever, if it works for you, and it meets the REAL food rules and is generally approved by your physician, then do that.

Click here for Heart-Check Certified Recipes from the American Heart Association.


Whether it is one hour of exercise every other day or 15 minutes of exercise every other hour… it all adds up. Just start moving.

  1. Take a walk at lunch instead of eating at your desk
  2. Get a cordless headset so when you have a phone call you can stand up and walk around your office
  3. Park further away from the store front
  4. Take the stairs, not the elevator

The AHA recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week for adults. Activities such as a brisk walk at lunch or yoga when you wake up or before going to bed count.

Additionally, adults should focus on muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. That doesn’t mean you need to become the next body builder champion, but you should do things that will strengthen and tone your muscles… running, jumping rope, swimming, or lifting weights all count.


WATER! Not sodas, not energy drinks, not even coffee or tea. WATER!

The more water you drink the better your body will function in all aspects of health. Water helps your body:

  • keep your temperature normal
  • lubricate and cushion joints
  • protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
  • get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements

The common recommendation is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. So, if you weight 200 pounds you should be drinking 100 ounces of water every day. If you don’t like water because it is boring, add lemons or limes or whatever other fruit you prefer, but get the water in. With the summer heat right around the corner getting your water intake to the recommended levels is even more important to prevent dehydration.

Go to SLEEP!

Turn off the TV, the iPad, the iPhone… all of those distractions and go to sleep! Adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep to function properly. Lack of sleep leads to a number of problems, many of which we will discuss on a different day, but one of them is that it changes the way your body functions metabolically… which translates into either gaining weight or making it difficult to lose weight.

Stay off of the Scale!

Women, this is mostly for you. It’s tough. We have grown accustomed to relying on a number on a machine to determine where we fit. But stop obsessing with it. Focus on the other victories… How do your clothes fit? How are you feeling? How is your energy levels? How are you sleeping?

Workers’ Memorial Day April 28, 2019

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April 28, 1971 OSHA opened its doors for the first time. And with that, ushered in a new era focused on the safety of the American Worker. Since that day American workplaces have become much safer, however there is still so much to do.

April 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day

Workers’ Memorial Day is a time we remember and honor the men and women who have lost their lives on the job.

The latest numbers come from 2017 and in that year 5147 workers lost their life on the job. Of that number 491 were in Texas. And 129 of those worked in the construction industry.

Of the 129 Construction Fatalities in Texas in 2017:

  • 44 were from falls
  • 30 were from work-related traffic incidents
  • 19 were from electricity
  • 16 were from being struck by equipment/vehicles
  • 7 were from being struck by a falling object
  • 7 were from workplace violence incidents
  • 6 were from other miscellaneous causes

Why should we have this Day?

No, I am not saying that we shouldn’t remember those that have lost their life on the job. We should remember them. We should learn from that loss.

But we should not have a Workers Memorial Day 2020, or 2021, or 2022…. Let’s eliminate the need for this day by eliminating Worker fatalities. If we perform our tasks safely, if we watch out for ourselves as well as our fellow worker we can eliminate this day.

Let’s make that our goal!

Rings + Construction = Disaster

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Rings are hazardous for anyone that works in construction. The hazards are numerous, but the two most common hazards are ring avulsions and electrical burns.

Ring Avulsions

Ring avulsions were “popularized” 2015 when Jimmy Fallon suffered from one in a horrific but some what mundane and bizarre home accident. And for many people the hazard remains something that is barely worth mentioning. However, for those of us that work in any industry that relies on manual labor the hazard is very real.

Ring avulsion injuries don’t go unnoticed, but because the injury does not always result in what is called “degloving of soft tissue” or “traumatic amputation” the seriousness of the injury can be misjudged. Typical symptoms of a ring avulsion include:

  • Swelling of the finger
  • Redness or bruising around the finger
  • Numbness and tingling down the finger

P.S. if you get queasy looking at gory photos, DO NOT google image this type of injury.

The surgery to repair such an injury is “many-hours-long” and more often than not results in amputation of the injured digit.

Electrical Burns

Most rings are metal. Metal is an excellent conductor of electricity. Simply by wearing your metal rings you increase your potential to create an electrical shock and the associated electrical burns.

Suitable alternative

Wedding rings are an important symbol to many people. And the thought of not wearing one just doesn’t work. So, what can you do instead?

Try one of the many Silicone Ring options that are available on the market. They come in a wide variety of colors, sizes and styles.

Silicone does not conduct electricity so the hazards associated with metal rings and electricity is eliminated.

Silicone rings are also very soft and stretchy….and ultimately breakable. Therefore if the ring did become caught on something it would more than likely break before causing significant damage to your fingers.

Eye Health

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The health of your eyes is a critical component to your overall health. And it is one that is often overlooked.

Eye protection in the form of Safety Glasses is discussed on a regular, if not daily, basis. But we only just scratch the surface (no pun intended) of eye safety and health. For this article we are going to focus on Eye Health. We will return later to discuss more on Eye Safety.

Eye Health = Brain Health

Healthy brain function needs healthy eyesight. The brain is our most vital organ, allowing us to live complex lives. Considering that your optic nerve connects your eyes and your brain, a healthy co-dependent relationship is necessary. By keeping your eyes healthy, you keep your brain healthy – improving your overall quality of life!

Good vision contributes to improved athletic ability, better driving skills, improved learning and comprehension and better quality of life.

There are a number of articles that have been published on eye health.

Click here for a few Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes.

Blue Light

Technology has brought some amazing advancements to our abilities to perform our jobs in construction, and plenty of additional opportunity to tune out of practically any situation and lose ourselves in a movie or game or social media. And with that, we are also exposing ourselves to the potential hazards that come with over exposure to blue light.

Blue light is great in normal dosages. But concerns have begun to be raised regarding the current dosages of blue light that we are now exposed to. There was a time when the only time we were exposed to blue light was when we were outside playing in the sunshine. But now we are exposed from the sun, from our computers, from our phones, from our tablets, from our TVs, from our lights in our house…the list is seemingly endless. So, what can we do to protect ourselves from blue light?

Click here to find out: Blue Light and Your Eyes

Daylight Saving Time – 2019

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It is that time of year again. When the days are getting longer and warmer and we start wanting to spend more time in the sun enjoying our days instead of at work. But to get to that, you have to go through the dreaded time change.

On Sunday morning at 2 AM you will turn your clocks ahead one hour. Or if you are like me, and all of your clocks are magically connected to something digitally, it will happen for you while you are sleeping. If it doesn’t happen for you magically in the middle of the night then do it before you go to bed on Saturday or you might be late for whatever you have planned for Sunday.

Adjust now so you don’t have to adjust all at once on Monday morning

Start trying to go to bed a little earlier each night and waking up a little earlier each morning. By adjusting these times by 15-20 minutes each night/morning you will transition your body gradually rather than abruptly on Monday morning when you actually need to function properly.

This includes Sunday! Don’t sleep in. Set your alarm and get out of bed at your “normal” time. Take a short 20 minute nap if you need to in order to make it through the day, but get out of bed.

Resist the extra cup of coffee, the night cap, and the heavy dinners

I know it may feel like you won’t make it without one or all of these, but for the next three days it really is better to avoid them if you can. They all worsen your quality of sleep, which will in turn create an even bigger deficit than the one you will already be facing on Monday. So, do yourself a favor and avoid the temptation.

Get some sun and some exercise!

Even if you have to bundle up, getting outside in the sunshine can help reboot your natural sleep patterns and help you acclimate. And the exercise will help you get tired enough to go to sleep each night.

Help the kids adjust too!

By simply turning off the electronics at least one hour prior to bed you will help your children rest better. This is good advise even when we aren’t talking about Daylight Savings Time, but for this weekend it is even more critical.

And make their morning routines as simple as possible. Having everything prepared and ready to go the night before will help make getting them out of the door the next morning easier.

Cold and Flu Season

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The dreaded cold and flu season is here.  In the US it ranges from November through April.  And according to the CDC, 5% – 20% of the US population catches the flu annually.

Here are some tips to help you avoid being a victim:

  • Clean and wipe down shared surfaces such as countertops, keyboards & phones
  • Avoid touching you mouth, nose & eyes, and wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Get a flu shot if possible – it’s most important for children & elderly
  • Eat healthy foods to strengthen your immune system
  • Exercise moderately to maintain a healthy immune system
  • Ask your doctor about vitamin supplement to help support your immune system
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Try to avoid people who are sick & know when to stay home if you become sick

Recognizing the symptoms of the Cold and Flu plays a key role in knowing if you ultimately fell victim.

  • The symptoms of the cold include:
    • Sore throat
    • Cough,chest discomfort
    • Mild fatigue
    • Runny nose
    • Fever and headache are rare
  • The symptoms of the flu are:
    • High fever 102-104 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Headache
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Dry cough and sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Muscle aches
    • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

Infection can occur 1 day before and up to 5 days after becoming sick.  So it is important for you to do your part to prevent the spread of germs.

  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
    • Use tissues when you sneeze or if you have the sniffles.
    • If tissues aren’t available, sneeze into your sleeve – it is another great weapon against germs.
  • Toss tissues in the trash and
  • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Any kind of soap is effective in removing germs if you vigorously rub your hands together under running water for at least 15-30 seconds.

Sharing isn’t always Caring

Stay home if you

  • Have a fever
  • Cannot control your sneezing and coughing

The National Safety Council published Facts About the Flu. Feel free to download it and share with your team members and family.