What’s Your Next

whats your next

 

Happy Monday beautiful people!  Even as I write that I’m aware in the crazy way the universe rolls, it’s actually the end of Monday for some of you on this planet and you are now preparing for Tuesday.

This can be a bit much for my brain to process so I’ll just leave it here and say I hope you’ve had an awesome day no matter what it technically is.

For me though, it’s Monday. Monday morning.

And for the record I’m not “anti-Monday”. I’m glad I’m blessed to still be here, to experience another day of life.

Perspective people, perspective.

My last few Mondays, and today, and the next several will be heavy training days for me. I kick start my week by doing the entire duathlon course start to finish. It does seem rather daunting when I’m slowly coming to life waiting for the coffee to brew wondering if I’m gonnna churn out all the energy this task in front of me will require.

Of course that is my non-coffee brain thinking. Once I wake up more and slip into my gear I’m all business and ready for the task at hand.

Weeks remain till race day. I’m already feeling that edginess that comes over me as an event approaches.

It’s not just the race, it’s the awareness that all of it will be… over.

I’m well acquainted with the feelings and emotions of preparing for a big athletic event and the inevitable let down of emotions when it’s done.

There is something that can’t be explained in the preparation and training ultimately culminating in this event I’ve prepared for.

In those miles and hours of training leading up to it, there is a sort of hunger that develops. A hunger that really is disguised as passion.  To see myself improve, make better times, take things on a bit more effortlessly as my body adapts to the rigors of what it’s being put through.

Honestly, it’s a bit addicting.

All the while in my mind though is the question… “what’s next?”

That question can taunt and challenge. It can intimidate and have a level of fear. It can also be the thing that makes me examine how much more I can bring to the table.

What’s my next thing

It’s never far from my mind. I’ve been asked if I’m gonna do a marathon again. Ha, I will most likely start with a half to warm up to it.

Yes, I love distance running and I love what it’s taught me and how I’ve grown from my experiences on the road.  In some crazy ways, I’ve missed it.

Obviously, training for the duathlon, my athletic goals have been much more laser focused. My running has been shorter and geared to my event. Not to mention, doing a multi sport race requires my body to perform in different ways so I need to keep my energies centered on that.

But I’m heading back to distance running. Maybe a spring half marathon…we’ll see. I already have fully acknowledged I’m gonna miss those brick training days ( combined running and cycling back to back) I’ve come to enjoy the challenge and hard work of them and I may just keep one built into my training week… because… duathlons. 😉

What’s your next thing

ok this has been leading somewhere. Let’s talk about you.

Do you work and strive for something specific without a thought to where do you go from there?

How do you continue to grow, change and challenge yourself?

Do you see your current endeavor as a learning process to get to a new level?

Yeah I know, not everyone is doing something athletic oriented, but you for sure, have goals or dreams something you’re pressing on towards.

I’ve loved every step of the journey I’ve been on that’s built me as an athlete ( well, most steps haha) I’ve accepted it’s where I am at that moment.

You as well should embrace your journey to your goals.

But for all of us we should never lose sight of the fact we can always do more, be more, achieve more.

Maybe I’m wired a bit more intensely. Maybe the physical challenges I’ve put myself through have only caused me to wonder… what else am I capable of?

You know, that statement applies to you too, right?

What else are you capable of? How big can you dream? What new thing can you take on?

That next step

Don’t get me wrong. That next step once you hit a goal might actually scare you, and that’s ok.

I had 4 half marathons under me without a single thought to running a full one. I mean come on, that’s 26.2 miles! It was when I finished my fifth and walked off the course with my best time ever that the idea floated into my mind…

“It’s time to consider a full marathon”

I shoved it out of my head and dismissed the idea as a lack of carbs to my brain for the crazy thought.  Really. There’s no way I’d do a full marathon.

That was in the spring, and by end of year, I had my first one under me.

I had only a fleeting thought after I committed of wondering “if” I could do it. I stomped it out and never let myself think I couldn’t.

A few pointers

Nothing in our lives accidently happens. If you want to do something, you’ve got to be intentional.

~ Set your new goal.  I’m still so old fashioned and love writing stuff out where I can see it. Use a calendar to make reminders or things you need to do daily or weekly.

~ See yourself doing it.  Don’t allow any idea to creep in that makes you doubt yourself. Your mind is a powerful playing field!

~ Engage with like minded people who can encourage you on your journey.

~ Be the best student you can of what you are pursuing… always be learning!

~Don’t be afraid of new challenges. These bring us more growth.

Getting to the next step might be big and scary and we might wonder if we have what it takes.

You do. We all do.

Enjoy your journey, embrace where you are, but never stop asking “what’s next”.

 

 

 

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Weddings And All Things Lovely

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This is gonna just be one of those “life” posts.  Because my life is made up of a wee bit more than my athletic adventures, debunking current health nonsense, and offering up sane and practical ways to be fit and healthy.  Sometimes I just want to write about those “other” things.

As in… my first born son will be married in less than 2 weeks!  That my faithful readers, is a big life event for this momma.

Now this isn’t my first rodeo marrying off a child. My middle son will celebrate 2 years married in just a few days. THAT is hard to believe.  In those 2 years of marriage I’ve also received a beautiful granddaughter who turns one in a few weeks.

Will time just slow down already???

But yeah… I have a wedding coming full steam at me and as I write this today I will admit it’s my first round of actual, all out nervousness and that “OMG are we really ready for this?!” feelings.

By nature I’m not prone to that. I’m usually the more focused and in control of my feelings and emotions person. I don’t get all crazy from my nerves ( shhhh don’t ask hubby about that when I’m hours away from a race 😉 )

But today my mind is filled with all the little details and things still being done. My “to be”  daughter in law has been very good with getting stuff done so that’s helped a lot. I’ve tried to work and help her to the best of my abilities.

Team work, right?

Planning a wedding is…well.. a big deal. There are so many details.. but you know…women…. we are into details.

Just ask us to tell a story 😉

So there are flowers… how many and where do they all go. In the church on the tables, off the rafters haha. What will the tables look like ? tablecloths, plates, decorations etc.

What goes in the church? Just the right touches to add to the beautiful old, antique look of it.

Food. Guests want to eat. We got to sample the goods recently and make decisions on that.

Cakes. Oh. We’ve got cake. We might have cake for days afterwards. They will be gorgeous though and oh so tasty.  I hope I have time to enjoy some of it that day.

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Brides dress… all done. Portraits done.

Bridesmaids dresses and tuxes picked out and ordered.

Mother of groom dress. Ordered and hanging in my closet.

It is stunning.

Unlike many who might try to knock some weight off before the big event, I’m over here hoping to maintain my weight so my “custom made fits like a glove” dress still fits like that on the big day.

How many mothers of the groom are heavy into training for a duathlon with a wedding also on the menu?404

All of that aside… I know… it will happen. My nerves will settle, it will be beautiful, and I gain a new lovely daughter in law in the process.

Marriage. I’ve learned a little about it in the 33 years I’ve been married.

Weddings always take me back, make me think, how I’d do it all over again with the same wonderful man.

I don’t mean for that to sound cliché or corny. It’s just true.

You grow and learn so much about each other in a married relationship. You have good times and bad times. I’m thankful our years have been filled with more good than not.

I’m thankful that no matter what, we’ve always respected each other and I think that’s a huge key to a successful marriage. Even if times aren’t great, love and respect are (I believe) huge factors to longevity.

You learn to pitch in together with common goals. work for things you want together, support each other in their own individual passions (I’m serious when I say my husbands support of my athletic and health shenanigans are huge to me) you go through kids ( and some of the literal hell they roll you through) you deal with aging parents and illness and death, finances, job changes, health issues… life stuff people.  Sometimes it isn’t pretty and you want it to just be over already.

Then there are quiet moments of waking up together and talking about the day or savoring that first cup of coffee together.  Special dates and doing those things that matter to the two of you… things that have been born from years of being together… things that are about you, as a couple.  There are the inside jokes and weird quirky things that are between the two of you that you could exchange in a room full of people and no one would get but the two of you.

You learn about the whole “better or worse” thing that you recite in your vows. In all our years together I can honestly say that nothing has ever caused us to use the separation or divorce words.

And don’t you either.

Those are harmful words and should never be thrown around in your anger with each other.

When you make a commitment to love the other, it may mean you love, but you might not always like each other.

If you’re married and deny that, well, I’d call you out on it …’cause well.. it’s true. You’re two individual people, who different ideas, likes, interests, opinions, thoughts etc.

You will never mesh on everything, and you shouldn’t.

There is such a beauty in the differences of individuals who learn to mold and blend those differences together.

I am definitely the fiery, outspoken one of our relationship. He is calm, sees things in different ways and keeps me tethered when I’d go flying off on a tangent on something. ( Ah he tries… sometimes.. I do go untethered haha)

It’s a beautiful balance of give and take. Learning and growing. Accepting and changing.

It’s the beauty of years of lives being blended together in something sacred called marriage.

So as I work, prepare and get ready to watch my first born son become a wedded man my heart desire is for him ( his brother too) to learn these things. To allow large measures of grace to always permeate their marriage, to allow it to be in their relationship as they grow together. To be patient when they might not feel patient. To be loving even if they don’t feel like it. To be understanding of the others weaknesses and flaws. To be a helper and not a taker. To support, encourage, and build each other up. That they will cling to each other in rough times, and learn to appreciate the goodness of simple, daily life and life events. To not sweat the small things and let them go. To not waste time on being mad or arguing because they are wasting time they could love and enjoy each other. To think of the needs of the other before themselves. To live sacrificially.

Marriage is a commitment. A lifelong one. Is it always easy, no. But the beauty of having another soul who knows you inside and out. Good and bad. Knows your sense of humor and what makes you laugh. Who knows those little things that make you smile and who loves to hear about your goals and dreams, someone who is willing to go the distance with you, works with you and desires to be with you, that my friends, is nothing short of priceless.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting back to my to-do list and settling my nerves down.

I’ve got a wedding coming.

 

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School Days And Healthy Lunches

Monday was a big milestone for many parents. It was the start of another school year. It meant sending kids off for the first time or maybe it meant moving them up to another level of education.

I’ve observed all of it in a different way.

This is the first year I don’t have a child to send off to school. I had to buy no supplies or sign endless miles of back to school paperwork. I didn’t think of back to school clothes or what I needed to have on hand for lunches.  My alarm didn’t go off getting me moving to make sure everyone would be up and on time for the bus. No teacher conferences or meetings that drone on forever.

Maybe, I should’ve shed a tear or two over it.  I’ve had children in school for more years than I can count now so I’m ready to move on.

I say all that… but…. my kids aren’t really done with their education. I had two head out for college. One, in his second year. The other, back to Freshman status again.

They bought their own supplies. They figured out what they wanted to wear to school. They are adults so they are responsible to sign off on their own paperwork. They get themselves going and figure out what time they need to leave.

It’s all very….. wonderful.

On the other side, my grandson started school. How can this be? This pains my heart as much as when my little ones went off to school. I watch my adult son now contend with all the years of schooling in front of him while I silently ponder, wasn’t it just yesterday, I was holding his little hand walking down the big hall way?

Ok before I go and get all crazy sappy on you…..

One thing that goes hand in hand with school no matter the age, is food. There will be lots of lunches packed and prepared in households with schools arrival.

Lunch boxes will be purchased with the anticipation of what will go in them. ( I can still remember that new plastic smell of a new lunch box)

Let’s take a moment to admire them all fresh, clean, and unscratched.

They will never be like that again once they leave your house 😉

It was a HUGE deal every year, my kids picking out their special lunch box.  Of course, by the time they hit high school, it was a bonus if they managed to toss a random assortment of food into a plastic bag before they flew out the door.

Needless to say, over the course of the years, with many kids, I had quite a few lunches at school with them. It was a treat to have your parent come eat with you… well.. for awhile.. until they wanted to pretend like they… had no parents.

The lunch selections that were revealed by their young peers were often, interesting.

There would be the standard cafeteria fare which my kids often begged to eat but were quickly disappointed when they had it.

My oldest pleaded with me to let him eat the spaghetti they were serving the next day.

He was in maybe 5th grade at the time.  Why not? I let him. I already knew what to expect when he came home that next day.

“That spaghetti was gross! It was nothing like yours! I’m never eating stuff at school again!”

I figured I’d let him make his own conclusions that the school spaghetti would be Chef-Boyardee from a can and not the homemade variety he only knew.

Many children come with a healthy balance of foods in their cute boxes or bags. The treats were often devoured first, followed by the second better option, with the healthier things being at the bottom of the consumed list.

I remember one child plopping down across from me ( they are always so excited when a parent is there… any parent… you automatically adopt a table load of kids 😛 ) she dumped her lunch on the table and it was nothing but a bag of various sweet items.

I tried not to look horrified. I may have failed miserably in the attempt.

I choked out… ” Wow, that’s an interesting lunch” to which the child smiled at me and said “I made it myself!”

I’d certainly hope so.  I wondered if the mom had any clue what her child had assembled for lunch that day.

With school beginning and lunches packed, as parents we will make efforts to offer our kids tasty, portable meals that will hopefully sustain them through a busy, active day.

With childhood obesity at an all time high, we need to be mindful of the foods we provide for our kids, in our home, as well as what they will take to school 5 days a week.

One of my sons teases me about being in school and that he was the kid dragging out a water bottle to drink while the other kids had “juice” boxes. ( Note, many of these are nothing more than sweetened drinks with a nod of “juice” in them) and he had cut up apples while no one else would eat fruit.

Of course he goes on to say I split Oreos in half… haha… he is the most… “dramatic” child I have.

I reminded him he got the whole Oreo 😉

Hey, all I can say is I tried as a parent to offer the best foods to them I could.

Our kids can only eat foods we provide for them. We are responsible for the foods we bring home to them. If there is limited junk/sweet/treat foods they won’t be able to eat them.  We need to stop thinking chips/cookies/donuts/muffins/crackers/sodas etc are a necessary food group. If we teach them that healthy whole foods are tasty from an early age they won’t have a problem taking them in lunches.

Healthy tips/suggestions for lunches

~ If you want to send “juice” boxes, read the label to make sure they are juice or are labeled as such. Many proclaim to be but only offer a tiny percentage while the rest is sweetened water. If the first ingredient is “high fructose corn syrup” look for something else.

~ It really is ok for them to take water in their lunch too. You can buy small mini bottles to fit in boxes.

~ Offer whole grain breads over white bread.

~ Baby carrots or other veggies are often a fun snack. Include a small container with some dressing if your child likes that.

~ Prepare fruits or veggies to make them easier to eat.

~ Protein foods will keep their tummies full feeling. Cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs, yogurts all are good protein sources and easily portable.

~ Don’t underestimate the nutritional value of a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Peanut butter is nutritious, filling, and a great healthy eating option. It offers 8 grams of protein  for 2 tablespoons

~ Opt for whole wheat crackers and breads

~ Milk can be purchased at school which is often colder and more palatable than if it comes from home in a thermos or container. Yikes.. the days of warm milk….

~ Sweet treats are fun and kids enjoy them. Just limit the amount that goes into their lunches. Excessive treats take away from the actual idea of having “a” treat.

~ Consider making roll ups with turkey and cheese in whole grain tortillas instead of using bread.

~ Individual fruit cups are less perishable, look for ones without added sugar.

Our children have busy, active days at school learning, playing and constantly moving. Make sure the bulk of their calories are nutritious and filling to give them energy for their entire day.

Do you have any lunch box tips or tricks for healthier eating ?

Brown-Bag_Healthy-Back-to-School-Lunches

Yoga, Again.

Yoga. I’m at it again. Well, I’m attempting to be at it again perhaps I should say.  I went to some classes a year or so ago and have been doing my own thing.

I took home what I learned and at night while I watched some tv I’d get on the floor and roll out my muscles and then put some of those moves into practice. It felt rather nice to stretch and work my body in a different way than what my usual fare was.

But I haven’t done any organized classes since then… until now… and I’m thinking it will make a good “rest day” activity.

With all my training for the duathlon, I am definitely kicking my own tail and figured a little yoga could keep me loose for doing what I love.

Last week was my first class. Or is it? Is it my first class or a continuation of what I had already learned ?? ha

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Hair and make up done with my athletic clothes?? I feel like a poser haha  Off to my first ( in awhile) yoga class…

 

 

Anyway, it all came back to me really fast. And I quickly remembered a few things about it…

Yoga is a lot more slow paced

I’m fairly high energy and thrive on it athletically. Coming into a yoga class where all the sudden it’s single moves, being held, and a focus on my breathing …. yeah… a different game from flying down the road on a bike or running for miles.

There’s a reason why yoga is all about a turning inward, an inner mental focus and stillness.

It is a physically and mentally calming activity. I will freely admit it takes some work to rein in my active thoughts and just key in on what I’m doing, how I feeling, my breathing , and nailing whatever pose we are being led in.

Yoga forces me to slow down.

But before we go on… what IS yoga… exactly?

Maybe when you hear the word the mental image comes to you of a seasoned man sitting on top of a mountain lost in meditation for days on end.

I tease, but I’m sure there are images you may get when you hear the word.

Yoga is an ancient practice that has become increasingly popular. it is a meditative practice that leads you to focus on your inner self and to quiet your mind and thoughts.

Supposedly the reason why there are no mirrors in classes is so that you can focus on what you are doing and not be worried about what you or your neighbor look like in a pose.

The goal during yoga is to challenge yourself physically but not feel overwhelmed. At this point your focus is on your breath while your mind is accepting and calm.

I know from what I do on the road, how very important my breathing is to what I do. Deep, even  paced breathing serves me well not only on the long stretches, but more importantly when I’m doing things like taking on big hills when I need my breathing strong and even and not shallow and rapid.

BUT get me in yoga pose, and I need to remind myself to breathe! ha

So the act of yoga is to quiet us, to quiet and relax our minds as well as our bodies. It’s almost humorous to me writing that line… because some of those moves are just flat out hard and not necessarily “relaxing” for me although it seems to come later after I’ve been stretched out well. Maybe it’s ’cause I’m still new at it and in time I will reach that perfect state immediately.

Are there other benefits to yoga?

Besides the obvious benefits of relaxation and mental clarity there are many benefits to actively practicing yoga.

On a physical level, yoga helps improve flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance.

About that strength thing… I remember my first class finding out how many moves really do require a great deal of strength. It was nice to have some strength to fall back on in those poses. I can see with consistent effort, yoga would build more body strength.

On an energetic level, yoga teaches you how to cope better with stress by cultivating a sense of ease in both active or passive poses.

On a psychological level, yoga helps to cultivate mindfulness by shifting your awareness to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that accompany a given pose or exercise.

Trust me, you are aware of the sensations holding some of those poses!

Yoga is also good for circulation, improved posture, flexibility, it could help with fighting arthritis, builds muscle strength, protects your spine, and  yoga could also help you become a more conscious eater as you become more mindful of yourself. Yoga can also help you become more focused as you have to learn to focus on the present. It can also improve your balance and better balance means less falls. This is especially a problem as we get older. Practicing balance moves could prevent falling.

Also, another by product of yoga is deep sleep, some studies suggest. Of course I’ve found long rides or runs can also contribute to it as well 😉

My yoga goals

If I want to have a flexible, loose body for the things I do on the road, yoga will be good to help keep my body loose and flexible.

Going to a once a week class will solidify moves in my head and then I can continue to use it as a rest/recovery activity in the evenings.

I need time to slow down in a physical way. Yoga reminds me that my high energy needs to be tempered sometimes and that’s ok.

I want to stay bendable! My instructor had us in this pose that was almost a half split and she encouraged us that with a little practice it would come to us. I did the splits ages ago but you know, I grew up and stopped doing stuff like that.

Back bends, head stands, the splits… activities we seem to put away as we get older. She said she never stopped doing them.

It was a reminder to me, and to all of us really, if we want to keep using our body and have it be strong and flexible, we need to always be using it.

Age isn’t an excuse to not use our bodies.

Stretching, bending, pushing ourselves a bit more shouldn’t be limited to a time in our lives, but it should be something we do ALL our lives to be strong and productive so we aren’t limited  in the physical bodies we live in.

Use it or lose it.  I don’t want to lose it.

It’s why we get weak, we don’t use our bodies to lift, bend, stretch and move.  It’s why we stop being able to run because we act like it’s an activity for just the playground. It’s why we allow ourselves to sit on the sidelines as we get older because we haven’t used our bodies in the way they are meant to be used.

And a few of my favorite poses I realllllyy like….

BEGINNERS-Pose-Child-Pose
Childs pose. This is my go to move to just stretch my back, shoulders and spine. This is a “rest” move during yoga. It feels amazing.

 

front fold
Front fold. I love this for stretching out my legs and believe it or not, hanging upside down can feel really good.

 

yoga poses - Tree Pose position (vrksasana)
Tree pose. Excellent for balance practice. This is fairly easy for me but I attribute it to all those single dead lifts I do 😉

 

warrior
I saved my favorite for last. I love all of these poses. They do require a great deal of strength and maybe I enjoy doing them because they feel strong and powerful.

 

 

Tell me. Are you a yoga lover? Have you tried it before? Or actively practice it now? What benefits have you seen with it ?

 

 

 

 

The Journey Of Ordinary

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Ordinary ~  noun~  what is common place or standard.

It had been one of those whirlwind days for me when I realized it was already midafternoon. My morning was behind me and I was full speed into the rest of my day. I received a message from my husband that at first seemed, odd.

“I rarely say anything about your blog other than to discuss the content of what you wrote on that day, nor do I ever really disagree with you on something you wrote. But I’m going to disagree with you on this…”

Well obviously, he had my attention. He is pretty much the only one who’s opinion I want or care about and of course I was wondering what he had issue with in regards to my writing that day.

I waited for the rest of his message to come in…..

“You wrote that you’re an “ordinary” athlete.  I disagree. You are far from “ordinary” as an athlete.”

Obviously, I wasn’t expecting that. Obviously, he couldn’t have said anything cooler to me.

Of course, he was picking it out of the entire context of my post that day. I was simply using myself as an example of someone who wasn’t like… you know… an elite athlete or even one who had been an athlete through school or something like that.

I got what he meant. I know that I do a lot more athletically than the majority of people my age, heck, even those a lot younger. I guess I’ve become so accustomed to doing what I do, I forget that normal people think it’s weird 😛

Here’s where I’m going.

I used ordinary for a reason.

I wanted ( and still want) people to relate to a woman who had no athletic back round,  and who had no interest in any kind of serious athletic events. A woman who was literally smack in the land of “middle aged” who had taken care of everyone around her but herself for the longest time. Middle aged, carrying more weight than she needed, out of shape, with a family history of (potential) health problems in the future if she didn’t change up her ways.

It’s a standard thing to tell people I really started off as a “reluctant walker”. I knew I needed to do something so I dutifully logged my 2 mile walk every day. No matter what, I did it. I did it till it got into the pattern of a new habit.

I grumbled. I complained. I whined.

An over weight, middle aged, ordinary wife, mom, sister, daughter, jack of all trades, woman just kept at it each day.

I had no lofty athletic goals dancing anywhere in my mind… at all… in any direction. If anyone told me I could be a strong athlete, I would’ve laughed. The idea seemed preposterous.

Funny thing about making new habits….

They stick.

New habits turn into new desires. New goals. New plans.

What I didn’t know as an ordinary woman, out on the road, building that new habit, not only was it changing my body, it was changing my mind.

I was learning more about myself than I previously understood.

~ my body could go farther!

~ it could walk faster!

~ that walk could be turned into short runs!

~ those short runs could be turned into longer runs!

When I’d come back tired, I’d think about what I had been able to do. I developed a new appreciation for what my body was capable of, that I hadn’t given it credit for. I saw how it over time, began to adapt and change from the activities I put it through.

My weight dropped off.  I got stronger. Muscles showed up that hadn’t been there. I developed a great endurance capacity.  My mind was getting stronger. ( that, is where the real playing field is boys and girls)  you get your mind strong, you can own the world.

Somehow, I managed to sign up for my first race which was a half marathon ( #overachiever) I found out later that most people start with a 5K.

I just kept moving forward. It’s safe to say at this point I was getting hooked. I actually liked what I was doing.  I looked forward to exercise.

Year, after steady year. New goals, new plans, new dreams.

They didn’t come all together, those goals.

Heavens no.

Safe to say I would’ve felt enough fear? uncertainty? to cause me to run the other way if those things all were presented to me at once.

I was just, you know, an ordinary woman, turning into an athlete.  That’s not said with any vain thought…. it’s just an acknowledgment of where I am now.

I am strong. I am capable of doing more physically than I ever would’ve imagined. I am an athlete.

If I look at where I am today, and where I’ve come from, and what I can do now, then yeah, I guess I’d agree with hubby that I’m not “ordinary”.

Becoming a good athlete has been born from hours and hours of work, sacrifice, dedication, tears, tired muscles, frustrations, down right stubbornness, and an unwillingness to give up.

This is your reminder…..

This is what I want you, others, anyone I interact with, to remember. If an “ordinary” woman like myself can accomplish goals and events she never would have imagined, you my dear reader, can do anything you set your mind to.

If you’ve entertained ideas on doing something specific, write down the steps you need to move that direction. If you just think you’re only goal at this point is to get off the sofa, well, go you! Do it. You never know where the path from the sofa may lead to.

Don’t let your thinking be crowded with thoughts that only certain people can do certain things.

Extraordinary things can happen when “ordinary” people get to work.

Tell me something cool you’ve accomplished that seemed impossible or that you never thought you’d see yourself doing. Did you ever feel to “ordinary” in the sense you thought you didn’t have what it would take to do it ?

 

Food Vs. Supplements

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Commercials. If there’s one thing they are designed for it’s to sell you on the product at hand.  To convince you that your life will be better with it. They want to make you spend your money on it.

You name it, nothing seems to be off limits anymore. One has caught my eye several times for an anti-aging skin care product… not because I put much stock in products that promote that. The cream supposedly has blackberry extracts to contribute to keeping a young look.

Of course my first thought was… why not just eat those suckers instead of using a cream that may have a touch of blackberry extract in it? They are a staple in my food consumption almost every day… I think it’s better eating them than slathering them on my eyes…

Blackberries are loaded with Vitamin C with a serving at 3.5 oz, offering 35% of the daily allowance, that serving is only 43 calories, and they are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber. A serving offers 5.3 grams of fiber. This humble fruit is also loaded with all kinds of vitamins and minerals and antioxidant properties. These antioxidant compounds protect against aging, inflammation, cancer and other neurological diseases…their dark color is a sign of their high antioxidant content.

Now back to the skin care with blackberries being marketed as an anti-aging cream.

If blackberries are loaded with so many good things in such a tiny package, and are a huge anti-aging food, you should be eating them up and not just slathering a bit of cream on your skin that may have miniscule amounts in it.

You’ve heard that saying you are what you eat? Nourish your body from the inside out.

There’s a huge market right now for supplements and health products on the market. They all offer a replacement option to the actual thing… real food.

Vitamins. Minerals. Health aids. Probiotics. Protein powders. Colorful drinks. Meal “replacements”.

That’s my favorite. I don’t want a meal “replacement”.

I want real food, thank you.

This, that and the other. So many things vying for your attention and your money… mainly…. your money.

A quick stroll down the health and supplement aisle will have you believing you need these products to be healthy because well, you know, eating balanced, nutritious food just isn’t enough to keep you healthy, vital and energetic. Certainly you are lacking something…so take a supplement. Use our drink. Take this pill.

We’ve had this pushed at us for so long, we’ve started to buy into it…literally.

One of the biggest markets right now has to be with protein/supplements/shakes/add in’s etc.

Often people purchase thinking they need it, especially if they are spending time in the gym. I mean, isn’t that just a part of it? Like lifting, sweating, making gains.. you MUST be chugging down protein?

OK first… a quick look at what whey protein is

Milk is made up of two proteins, casein and whey.

Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making. Whey protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is low in lactose content.

This is what you see mostly in the aisles of stores.

Whey protein is used for weight loss and to help protect and build muscles.

If you use it, it should in balance too. Over doing on protein supplements can cause health issues such as stomach pains, cramps, reduced appetite, nausea, headache and fatigue.

A friend recently sent me a story of a young woman who was training and working on building her body for fitness competitions.  She evidently lived on a pretty steady diet of protein supplements/drinks/high protein diet etc.

She was found unresponsive in her home and later died. Evidently she had a rare genetic disorder that stopped her body from breaking down protein properly. This caused ammonia to build up in her blood and an accumulation of fluid in her brain.  Unfortunately, this isn’t really tested for and only found after her death.

I know you’re sitting there thinking… “well, this is a rare thing so… people don’t need to really worry about this” …

the fact is, to much of anything isn’t good for us. Our body can only use and process so much protein at a time before the rest of it’s washed out. Excess protein will not make us have more muscles or achieve a better level of fitness.

I love protein and it definitely keeps me satisfied and from feeling hungry. I know it feeds my muscles and helps them to get stronger, and even grow a little. My protein comes from food sources, although, after long endurance workouts when my appetite is not there, I will use one for recovery just to get some carbs and protein in until my appetite returns.

People are “sold” on the idea that food isn’t enough. Or if a supplement/vitamin/ drink is good, more should be better.

We are bombarded with products in the store, online, and even what our neighbor is pedaling that is supposed to help us fix all of our ills ( which we don’t even know we have till we get the product to miraculously cure them all)  There are a few out there that are promising to “cure’ more and more things. Just note, I’ve seen new fine print that says it’s not FDA approved and that its not to prevent, cure or treat diseases)

Once again I’ll say this, our bodies are made in a beautiful balanced way, needing just a certain amount of vitamins and minerals for optimal health. To much of one thing could be enough to make you sick or throw off another vitamin or mineral in your body.

And don’t be lead astray by companies trying to sell you on the idea you’re “lacking” something and need to take their product. The only way you know you’re deficient in something is usually through the doctor after having lab work done. And if you are worried about something, talk to your health care professional!

Case in point… last year my husband had labs done and was found to be deficient in Vitamin D. Yes, he has been using a supplement with his nutrition to get his levels where they need to be.

Don’t be led astray that you “need” something without any evidence for it.

So here’s the deal…

good quality, nutritious food IS enough.

It is enough to give your body daily fuel, sustain it for workouts, your daily activities, and help you build a stronger more fit body if that’s your goal.

When you cut out non-essential foods that don’t contribute to your health and fitness goals and focus on eating nutritionally balanced foods, your body will respond, especially when you add in a good healthy dose of exercise.

So many of the problems we deal with today can be improved on with better nutrition, getting the non-essential foods and drinks out, exercising more and maintaining a healthy weight.

You don’t need supplements, shakes, drinks, potions or anything else to build a healthy body. We need to be careful about extra things we put in it lest we throw off the perfect, beautiful, balance that its naturally made to operate in.

Do you or have you used supplements ? Do you feel they helped you?  Have you ever felt like you just had to go along with what was currently popular?

Understanding Emotional Eating

It’s 9:30 at night and you are for some reason, in the pantry studying the options, deciding what your poison will be. Cookies? Chips? Maybe the freezer is your thing… there are several varieties  of ice cream begging for attention.

You aren’t really hungry. Your stomach is quiet and you don’t have the physical signs of actually needing to eat food.

But there’s this driving urge in you….

And here you are… stalking the goods… out of what? Boredom? Loneliness? Anger? Hurt? Happy the day is over? Frustration? Hard day at work? Worry? Maybe you don’t even know.

Whatever the reason, it’s emotionally driven. You may be aware of it, or you may feel powerless against it. It may come on like a compelling urge and you act purely instinctively on it without pausing to think of what you are doing.

Many times, it may be completely mindless. Eating as you feed your mind food for your emotional needs.

Emotional eating is only a problem when it becomes a persons central response to  regulating their mood. It is a coping strategy.

What is emotional eating, exactly?

Stress eating. using food to make yourself feel better, eating to satisfy emotional needs rather than physical hunger.

Occasional eating for reasons other than hunger isn’t bad. Some degrees of emotional eating is normal. Food is typically the focus on holidays, celebrations, life events, funerals, weddings, etc.

However, if it is your “go to” , your primary coping mechanism, then there’s a problem.

You are in an unhealthy cycle where the real problem isn’t being addressed.

~ Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food.

~ Feels good in the moment but then you are left with guilt of eating whatever is bugging you.

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Identifying… are you an emotional eater?

Do you eat more when stressed?

Do you eat when you aren’t hungry or are full?

Do you eat to feel better? ( calm or soothe yourself)

Do you reward with food?

Do you regularly eat till you are stuffed?

Does food make you feel safe or like it’s a friend?

Do you feel powerless or out of control with it ?

Emotional eating craves specific comfort/ junk food or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush.

Mindless eating is not satisfied when full. Emotional hunger is not in the stomach. This also leads to negative feelings ( guilt, shame, regret) eating what you feel you shouldn’t have.

Food self soothes. Emotional eating is an attempt to manage moods with food.

Identifying triggers

it’s helpful to assess yourself and understand what can set you off. Situations, places, feelings, etc can cause you to reach for food.

Triggers wont always be negative but can be triggered by positive emotions too ( a reward for a goal, birthdays)

I mean really, who is ever actually hungry for birthday cake or some Christmas cookies? We eat it because it’s enjoyable and we are celebrating.

Common causes of emotional eating

Stress, stuffing emotions, boredom, loneliness, feelings of emptiness, social influences or even ingrained childhood habits can lead to overeating.  It’s important to find other ways to feed your feelings, alternate behaviors that have nothing to do with food.

If you don’t know how to manage your emotions in a way that doesn’t revolve around food you won’t be able to control your eating habits for long. Diets often fail because they offer logical nutrition advice – IF- you have conscious control over your eating habits.

They don’t/won’t work when emotions take over demanding a swift payoff of comfort foods. To stop emotionally eating you must learn new ways to fulfill yourself emotionally.

Understanding the cycle and triggers is a huge first step. You need to learn alternates to turn to and not food.

How to help yourself

Pause. Think. Reflect = different decision.

Can you wait?

While you wait…check in with how your feeling… what’s your emotional status?

Are you truly hungry? as in experiencing natural signals of hunger? Or is it your mind/emotions talking?

You’ve attempted resistance in the past with the belief that your willpower isn’t enough.

The truth is you have more power over your cravings than you believe.

Really.

By checking in with yourself, pausing, examining what it is you’re feeling you are more likely to make a different choice than just eating whatever you have in mind.

Learn to accept good and bad feelings. The root of emotional eating is feeling powerless over your emotions. You can’t deal with them so you avoid feelings with food.

Become a more mindful eater.

Mindful eating is a practice that develops your awareness of eating habits and your food.

Think about the foods you buy. Do you buy healthy foods? Do you buy trigger foods that will contribute to times of emotional eating? Think of what foods will nourish you.

Come to the table hungry. Not ravenous, but with your body giving you it’s natural signals it needs to eat.

Start with small amounts. I’m always amazed, really, at the small amount of food it takes to feed myself and deal with my hunger.

Learn to really appreciate your food. I make jokes to hubby about how amazing food tastes when I’m seriously hungry ( like after long workouts and I’m finally ready for food) not only does it taste awesome, it feels good going in ’cause I am really hungry. I have an appreciation for food with true hunger.

How it tastes and the satisfaction are so different than eating when you aren’t really hungry.

Bring all your senses with you to the table. Learn to smell, savor, and visually appreciate what you are eating.

Take small bites, chew well, and learn to eat slowly.  Doing so will let you really taste and enjoy your meal while allowing your stomach to register that it has had enough food.

Becoming a mindful eater also means staying connected with your feelings and how it impacts your choices in your day with food. It’s practice but with practice you can become more mindful of reasons why you eat when you aren’t hungry or feel like you’re emotions are driving you.

Some reflective thoughts….

I’ve shared several times in blogs my own awareness of coming out of a family of emotional eaters. I’ve talked about learning about myself and being mindful of it in my own life. Understanding that definitely helped me on my weight loss journey.

Sometimes I make very mindful choices that I want something, knowing full well, I don’t need it. Hubby wandered into the kitchen one night to find me perched on the counter top with a bag of chips, munching away.

I told him “I am fully cognizant I’m emotionally eating these right now” and the fact was, there had been some thing or another that had made me feel angst and I just wanted those stupid chips.

The thing about knowing and understanding it’s what I was doing? I ate some, reined myself in, and put them away.

I was mindful of my actions.

You might need time to get there. Maybe you’re at a point where somehow the bag disappears on you. Or maybe more cookies than you intended. Or a whole lotta ice cream vanishes. Or whatever your brand of poison is.

It might require work and effort on your part. It might be times of failure and times of success. The more you mentally engage with it, the closer you will get to not feeding your emotions.

This is such a big topic, you might find more on it in the future here. I think many struggle with it and it prevents the success they long for with weight loss. Gaining insight and understanding can help lead to success.

Do you have thoughts on this?

Have you struggled with emotional eating? Did you find ways to change it?  Do you struggle now? What has made you aware of it?

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