Lifestyle Change And New Habits

Oh snap dragon.

Before I launch into todays thoughts, I’ll do a quick update on my recovery run I mentioned in yesterdays post.

I did my own little 5k with the goal to go slow and easy and just enjoy the absolute thrill and joy of running again… to see how the heel felt and not push for anything heroic.

Is there anything better than feeling the road under your feet? Having the wind in your face? Getting all sweaty? Or hearing nothing but the sound of your breathing as you let your body do what it’s trained to do ?

I think not.

The cool, groovy, and overall awesome thing? the heel felt no better or worse than before the run. My plan is to alternate some easy runs with strength training and ease back into where I want to be.

Now… on with todays new stuff…..

An overarching theme I hear from people who are starting/want to start a lifestyle change is this… “there are so many things to consider, so many things to change!”

Yeah, I get it. The task can seem daunting, so daunting in fact, many people will give up before they really get started trying.

Making changes means building new habits, new behaviors, an overall rewiring of your brain and how you do things. It doesn’t happen overnight.

How I wish it was so easy! But if you don’t start somewhere, how are you gonna start ? So what if you flop and fail the first couple times ? I certainly did. So do many others.

Think of learning to ride a bike with no training wheels…. remember those lurching, wobbling attempts to keep your balance and not go careening into the bushes ? Worse yet, remember when you did ?

What did you do? Dragged that bike out and with the help of mom or dad, you got back on that thing again and you started over… and you kept at it till you were successful… till you could sail down the street like a demon with no hands.

Building new habits in our lives is a lot like that. You gotta keep after it, if you fall off, you get back up, and start again until it begins to feel natural to you.

It’s hard to let go of comfortable habits, especially when they are not so good health habits, many of which have been in place in our lives for a long time!

Instead of being overwhelmed at the prospect of thinking you must change everything all at once, why not make a list of things you want to change?

Be specific and most of all be honest and real with yourself. If you eat in front of the TV at night and know it’s a bad habit, put it down.

Make a list of “new” habits you want to build in your life.

Once you list habits you have in place and you want to change or add you can then focus on one at a time.

Wouldn’t it be way easier to attempt say, one a week ? Of course, if you’re an over achiever, you can always focus on more 😉

The goal of course, is to make slow steady changes that evolve into a “lifestyle change”… something that is permanent and lasting.

Do you have any specific things you’ve done to build new habits in your life ?

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Running, Or Lack Thereof

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Focused and intense during a half marathon March 22,2015.

Hello boys and girls,

I’ve missed you!  It’s been a bat crazy past week of life stuff going down… nod your head “yes” that you totally get life stuff..

kid birthdays back to back and trying to juggle in celebrating everyone, my anniversary ( say go me for rockin’ it with an amazing and awesome dude for 31 years… yeah I was a child bride 😉 then I’ve been cleaning out years of… stuff…. ( I have another word for it but I’ll keep it nice here 😉 at my parents house.

My mom passed away last year and it’s something I haven’t rushed but my dad’s health is declining so the idea is to make things as minimal as possible for him.. anyway… another blog topic for another time….

Oh, yeah, and my blog.  I love talking to all of you, and I totally miss when I’m not here with you.

But, here’s the caveat, I don’t wanna just throw anything at you to get something “out there”. If you’re gonna take your time to read, I want to hopefully offer something that will entertain you, make you think, challenge you, or motivate and encourage you to do something. Maybe at times, if I’m successful, I’ll be thought provoking.

Now… on with the show….

You know how much I love to run.

It is hands down, one of the biggest things that makes me feel  rode hard and put up wet   alive. Not just alive, it makes me feel strong and powerful. It’s built an amazing confidence in me. There’s nothing that makes you feel more empowered than knowing you can run for miles. The beauty of running is that constant challenge against yourself, the striving and pushing to know you can always go back out and try and top what you’ve done.

You… are your biggest competitor.

If you’ve followed me, then you know I had a lot of racing activity in March, pretty much the culmination of months of training.

I logged close to 1K training miles from August thru end of February…  I’ve never been leaner or more fit in my life. I love being in the peak of training…. alas… it’s not a place you can stay. Intellectually, I know my body needs down time and plenty of time to rebuild and repair after such intense work.

Mentally, it’s a different ball game… I feel somewhat stir crazy coming off all those miles.

And then… it happened… or appeared… that pain in my heel. If you’re a runner, you already know what I did. I plowed right through it and kept running. I pushed it off as nothing, rested a lil, planned another run… and that’s when it really started bothering me.

No. Just…. no.

The idea of being sidelined was something that hurt me all over. So I’ve been off it for a couple weeks. Oh, I haven’t been lazy. Being doing some cycling and hitting the weights pretty hard… it’s just not….. running.

I’ve missed it SO bad.

I feel over the top jealous seeing runners on the road. I scan over running posts on my Facebook page….and race recaps… I don’t wanna see….

is there nothing more like throwing salt in a wounded runners wound than seeing all that stuff while you’re not running ?

I have goals for this year. Some smaller races and definitely a year end marathon… I don’t have time for this….

So, I’m planning a short run ( I will have done it by the time you’re reading this… I’m writing this tonight but running tomorrow…bonus points if you sort that out 😉

My plan… slow and easy….pray things feel ok…. and totally enjoy being out there again. Not to mention, I’ve been craving a really long run like a junkie craves crack. Not yet…..

Slow baby, slow.

Do you relate? It’s so hard being at this awesome level of fitness then having to just come…..down…. I hate it… if I can be so bold. But I also know, I can get there again.

So,off I’ll go praying and hoping for the best. I’ll keep you posted.

Tell me how you’ve coped with forced down time ? Have you learned anything in it ?  Do you think in some way, it made you stronger ? What tips would you share with a runner waiting to get back out there ?

Childhood Obesity

children playing

So I’m gonna tackle a topic that might be a lil off my usual stuff, but one that is definitely in national attention as well as making local news stories too. It’s something I believe seriously needs addressed.

I promise to resume my normal athletic(y) antics soon 😉

Childhood obesity.

It affects 30% of children making it the most chronic disease of childhood. This number has tripled since 1980.

Childhood obesity is a health issue.

More children today are diagnosed with diabetes, hyper tension and other co-morbid conditions associated with obesity and morbid obesity.

Obesity is defined as more than 20% above the ideal weight for a particular height and age.

The physical complications can be great for over weight children.  Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep disorder, non-alcoholic liver disease, and early puberty or menstruation.

Besides the over arching problem of physical effects on these children, the social and emotional complications are huge. These children can often suffer from low self-esteem, bullying behavior, learning problems and depression.

The risk factors know no economic boundaries. Poor diet, lack of exercise, family factors, and socioeconomic  all can contribute to children being overweight.

I’m gonna play the bad guy for a second and break up this word.

Child…. the first part of childhood.  Meaning they are the children who are dependent upon the adult to provide food, provide boundaries and provide guidance.

Parents are the ones who shop for food and provide for their child. Good nutrition is so important, but often, parents feel they need to provide empty calorie snacks and drinks for their child. I’ve also watched in my world at times where the children have been allowed to eat unchecked with no reminder “you’ve had enough” or maybe ” 2 cookies is plenty” .

It’s really ok for parents to say “no” to kids when they’ve had enough. To teach proper portions. The “no” word isn’t just ok for  some things, it’s ok when it comes to teaching children balance and moderation on food too.

Children will eat what we bring into the home. If they don’t have junk food to graze on, they won’t eat it. Oh I’m not the totally evil mom, I do have cookies and treats, but when my kids were in school they were the weird ones who had water bottles in their lunch instead of “juice” boxes which are often no more than glorified high fructose flavored drinks.

Although my 23 yr old wandered in one day and proclaimed “when you stated getting all healthy the good stuff went away!” ha that’s not entirely true as I still make a mean batches of cookies 😉 but I really keep the snack foods to a minimum.

As I’ve shared in previous posts, I grew up in a family with many family members being over weight. We were taught to clean our plates. I never made my kids do that, allowing them to eat till they were satisfied. My Mom flipped the first time I let my son leave the table with food still on his plate

I allowed them to learn and listen to their bodies natural signals. Alongside treats they learned about eating good foods too.

We teach our children so many things in life, shouldn’t  eating well should be at the top  of the list of what we teach them?

How do you help if you have an over weight child?

→ Improve daily diet making small gradual changes.

→ Offer water instead of sugary drinks.

→ Encourage exercise and outdoor activities.  Let your child brainstorm fun ways to exercise.

→ Focus on the entire family eating healthy and exercising.

→ Teach balance and moderation in eating. If your child is old enough, encourage them to read the labels, looking at serving size, and measuring it out to help them understand what that serving looks like.

→Offer rewards and treats that aren’t food related.

→ Allow them to have input on the types of healthy snacks and foods they want to try.

Encourage their efforts and keep the focus off numbers with the goal of being healthy and fit =)

The Great Diet Debate

Diets. Diets. Diets.

They abound everywhere, do they not ? There are the ones that seem to have been around forever, there are the ones that are major “companies” where you get support systems and eat their food, let’s not forget the current trendy ones all over internet, or ones that your neighbor is hawking.

All of them structured plans with the ultimate goal, to get you thinner, and more fat free.

In my past life when I participated in the diet games I’d find whatever might look promising in a magazine and give it a try…..for a week…or two… if I could grind it out that long.

You know what I finally realized ? I really HATED being told what I had to eat, when, and how much I could have. I HATED the idea that foods I loved were “off limit”. And I really HATED the whole feeling of deprivation and lack of fun that went along with it.

Why did something that was supposed to help me feel so…. life sucking ? Confining? Annoying?

I finally got it. I think it’s important to really understand yourself, how you roll, what makes you tick. Sometimes it might take awhile, but you get it.

I’m a total free spirit and a self confessed often rebel at heart…. no wonder conventional structured “diets” worked against everything in me.

I rebelled against being boxed into someone else’s food plan and ways of eating. I didn’t want to be nailed down to “a plan”.

When I decided to take control of my life and not be locked into a structured system of eating, here’s what I realized.

Taking away things I loved, or even things I randomly ate if I felt like it, made them way more powerful in my life than they needed to be ’cause it made me think of it more than I needed to… like “I can’t have these things…therefore…I want them”

Seriously, who wants to spend their mental energy thinking of food ?

That’s when I took my power back. That’s when I realized  I really was a grown up and declared nothing “off limit”. If I wanted a piece of chocolate, I’d eat it and move on. I trusted myself that I really wouldn’t eat a whole bag if I wanted a piece ( disclaimer… I never ate a whole bag of anything 😉 haha

I remember about a month in to my experiment. The fam wanted to go out for a burger. My previous “diet girl” mode would’ve been to scope out a salad, eat it, and feel deprived and left out. No… I got my burger…and fries… and enjoyed myself… and kept rolling with my plan. I got up the next morning, business as usual. No beating myself up or over crazy workouts to “compensate” for it (as if).

A couple months went by and I was losing weight AND happy at the same time ( what a concept) overall I was making good food choices, eating normally, and allowing occasional treats …. those are the things that allow you to still feel normal while your in the process of becoming more fat free 😉

Then, along the way, I came across this verse from a man named Paul, who was an apostle I the Bible.

It said “All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial”

That really resonated with me and my current thoughts on eating and losing weight. All food was permissible, it just wasn’t all beneficial for me to reach my health and fitness goals.

It’s still a reminder to me. I don’t like labeling foods “good” or “bad”.

However…… I choose to examine it in the context of is it beneficial for me? For my overall health? for my fitness goals? for how I feel ?

I’m not sure where you are on your fitness and health journey. Maybe your doing just fine or may these words might be helpful to you in your process to lose weight.

All (foods) are permissible, but not all (foods) are beneficial.  (mine)

Take your power back.

Daniel And The Vegetable Den

veggiesOk… I hear you now getting ready to correct me. You’re thinking… “wait a sec Cathie, wasn’t it Daniel and the LIONS den?”

And yeah, you’re right, and I haven’t forgotten the story I learned as a child. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a story from the Bible where Daniel was miraculously saved from being devoured  as lunch after being thrown to the lions by the King… good people then….

Now don’t start twitching and worrying that I’m gonna preach or anything… I mean… I COULD… but it’s not where I’m going here.  Regardless of your personal view on the Bible I think we can all agree it does contain vast amounts of historical information…. and if you dig… some interesting tidbits to make you think. Thinking… is good…..

For example… this particular passage I’m using is known to me and I’ve thought for awhile about doing a blog on it. Recently, it’s come home to me that this passage is pretty relevant for our health and wellness today… which is why I’m using it to bounce off of.

I’ll try and keep this brief…. King Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem. He requested that some children of Israel be brought to him, both of nobility and royalty to be trained to serve in the Kings palace. He then assigned to them  a daily portion of his rich and dainty food and of the wine he drank. They were to be educated and nourished for three years before they’d serve in the palace.

Enter Daniel…. one of the youth chosen to serve. I like Daniel… he had a mind of his own… he knew what he needed to do……. “But Daniel determined in his heart that he would not defile himself by eating the King’s rich and dainty food and drinking the wine he drank. He requested the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself”

Again, on a historical level, you must understand to Daniel, eating and drinking certain foods defiled him because they didn’t follow the dietary rules given by the Lord.

Can we pause on these words…. “rich and dainty foods” Now I don’t know about you, but if I applied those words to foods today it would be those things that are high in fat, or sugars, tasty treats and would be foods that make me fat and pasty looking…not to mention leave me feeling sluggish. Oh, and then toss in the wine and you’ve got some serious feeding going on… and the potential for lots of calories….

So Daniel… gets all bold…. which I totally dig…. he makes the request not to eat it… but the poor steward is all worried  and flat out tells him…. “I fear (the king) should see your faces worse looking or more sad than youths of your age….then you would endanger my head”

Check Daniels response…. ” I beg you, for ten days and let us be given a vegetable diet and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the ones eating the kings food be observed and compared by you and deal with your servants according to what you see.”

Daniel is able to convince the steward to go along with their experiment.

So what is the result at the end of ten days ? “at the end of ten days it was seen that they were better looking and had taken on more flesh than the youths who ate the kings rich dainties. SO the steward took away their rich dainties and wine and gave them vegetables.”

Just let that breathe over you for a moment….. the other guys were living the good life getting all the royal tasty foods and wines… then thanks to David and his entourage …. they get assigned the veggie diet.

I’m wondering if there was some grumbling in the ranks…. veggies and water. Actually, I’m pretty sure Daniel did them a favor.

I guess I’ve related to this story because I know how I look and feel eating more veggies, fruit, and water vs. other foods that aren’t as nutrient dense. You feel good, you look better, you’re giving your body real nutrient rich foods that shows in your appearance.

Now Daniels choice was based on his religious convictions and from what I’ve read based on the Old Testament food guidelines he would’ve been able to eat foods, besides veggies, that fit those guidelines.  This could’ve included fruits and nuts among other things. I’m not going to launch into all the possible dynamics of what he may or may not have eaten… the point is…. abstaining from rich indulgent foods and eating foods that are as close to natural has a positive effect on your body.

Get this… when I started doing a little research there are actually diets called the “Daniel Diet” or “Daniel Fast”. I don’t endorse any “diet” however, pursuing an eating plan that encourages lots of good healthy food isn’t a bad thing. (just don’t get dogmatic on it).

A couple years ago I was invited to participate in fitness  challenge for 3 months. Part of it involved doing a particular eating plan for 30 days. This plan encouraged lots of veggies, fruits, nuts/berries and some meat. No grains, dairy, pastas, beans etc. I found it to be very restrictive.

On the good side, I learned to eat veggies at ALL my meals and to experiment with new ones. I  leaned out pretty fast in that month. I liked how I felt eating more veggies.

And heck what other kind of foods can you eat wheelbarrow loads of for minimal calories ?? 😉 I’ve learned to cook them in all kinds of ways as well as just eating them raw in salads

Maybe you are ready for  your own 10 day challenge. That’s short enough to try something new and good you, right ? To see how it makes you feel ? Or maybe an experiment just to get you used to eating more veggies… to get on the right path.. You have nothing to lose and only improved health to gain, isn’t it worth a shot ?

Building New Habits

No, I didn’t get lost. Were you worried about me? 😉

I had this idea… but it was still in scattered pieces in my head and I wasn’t sure how to develop it till this morning… in the shower… it kinda came together. I know… most people sing in the shower…. more often for me it’s a time to run things through my head uninterrupted.. it’s also a place where my weakest moments are allowed out too.

The idea was talking to you about developing healthy habits, and for ALL of us, especially in the beginning it can be such a daunting, overwhelming idea that we can’t contend with… change… leaving behind or switching up everything that’s become all comfy to us. It’s not an easy task to accomplish. Dare I say we can rebel against it, even knowing those changes are for our overall good and well being  ?

Then it crossed my mind while showering, how change and developing new habits and behaviors are much like marathon training. If you’ve trained for one, then you know, you know how that training carries over into other aspects of your life. It’s become natural for me to look at taking things on in my life like I do training for a 26.2 mile race.

That training involves a huge amount of discipline and sacrifice. Purposeful planning. Repetitive workouts.  A willingness to invest the time in running to allow my body time to change and adapt to the demands of high mileage. A complete understanding I cannot simply wake up one morning and  just take off to run that distance with no preparation (don’t…ever…do that).

No, to properly train my body for the marathon it involves slow gradual changes moving towards my ultimate goal.  Smaller short weekly runs, long weekend runs becoming longer, small steps towards the bigger prize. It takes months of training to do it successfully ( I believe).

Developing new habits and behaviors are like that too. If you wake up on Monday with the determination that “Now is the time!” and you make a drastic immediate reduction of all food, hack out everything you love, and decide to go run 5 miles even though you haven’t done more than walk from the closest parking spot at the store to inside, I can guarantee Tuesday you’ll wake up starving, frustrated and having your body threatening divorce because you physically taxed it beyond what it was capable of doing and you hurt in places you didn’t know you owned.

A smarter approach is being willing to make small, gradual, and daily, changes to what you are doing. Focus on the day at hand, not the week, or months out.

Stop looking for instant gratification because weight loss and body change take consistent and dedicated time.

For me, 7 years out, I can tell you my body is vastly different today than when I started. It takes time… but hey… what else am I doing anyway? Or you? what else are you doing?

Some suggestions:

⇒ Focus on one day at a time.

⇒ Have a longer term goal in mind too.

⇒Don’t eliminate all foods and eat lettuce. Practice eating smaller portions as a start.

⇒ Consider how and what you eat. What changes do you need to make? Keep a food log to help remind and guide you.

⇒Decide on a physical activity you can start slowly with, especially if you have not doing anything in a long time.

⇒Stay away from an “all or nothing ” approach.

⇒Schedule your exercise commitments.

Consider the definition of habit :   an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary:

Most of all understand that developing new habits does take time and consistency….. I’ve heard up to 3 weeks on a daily basis to form a new habit.  It will require a willful choice on your part each day to do these things until it begins to feel more normal to you. That’s what a habit becomes…something that feels normal and natural in your day until it gets to the point you can’t imagine not doing it.

Note: in the beginning…. it probably will feel like work. Just press on taking those smaller measureable steps.

Following this pattern day after day will allow you to shape and define new ways of eating, exercising and making positive life changing choices 🙂

Healthy Habits And Lifestyle Change

Hey boys and girls…. it’s Monday! Are you ready to take on a new week ? It’s sunny and beautiful here in south Texas this morning and a bit on the cooler side too… no worries… it won’t last long 😉

I felt it when I scampered outside in only my shorts and sports bra… brisk air slamming into me… the beauty of working out? You warm up fast and get over that ha

Today was a combo of boxing, weights, and core body moves. I like doing this because it’s just a progression of constant movement from one point to the next. Not only that, boxing always makes me feel like a beast 😉

I knew getting up this morning that this workout was on my agenda for my day. A part of my day. As non-negotiable as eating or brushing my teeth.

Why? My workouts are a habit now, and honestly, a habit I love.

On our pursuit of developing a lifestyle change ( not a diet, a permanent change you can live with) new habits and behaviors must be formed along the way to make that change.

Food habits :  learning to make better choices to support our goals, and setting aside other things that don’t support our goals.  How do you look at food? What is it to you? Comfort? Stress reliever? A friend ?  or is it fuel to support your life and activities? What kind of fuel do you put in it ? When you’re hungry, what are you reaching for ? To move forward requires making intentional, better choices for yourself. Know also that it will take time for your tastes to change. If your daily diet consists of fast food, processed foods, sugars and refined foods know it will take time for change to occur. When it does, you will honestly taste the difference..those foods will taste “off” to you.

Exercise habits: movement isn’t just good to help with weight loss, but it’s good for us mentally, spiritually, and emotionally too. Our bodies are MADE for movement.

We have to make intentional choices to exercise like anything else in our life.

The thing is, for most people, in the beginning, it’s hard and uncomfortable! It’s also the point where you will quickly realize how out of shape you really are and get discouraged. Start small, start slow, stay consistent. Yes, you will be uncomfy but the more you continue to do it, the less you will feel that way. Trust me, you can move to a place where you embrace the challenge and look forward to the workout and will feel like something is missing if you don’t do it.

Mental habits: How often are you thinking of food ? What are your thoughts about food? Is it in a proper place in your life? How do you talk to yourself? Are you mentally preparing yourself for physical activity ?

Lifestyle habits: How we’re raised, how we learned to eat with our families impacts us forever. The spoken or unspoken rules that we grew up and lived by… good or bad…. we carry these habits with us into adulthood. If eating extra was encouraged, “clean your plate!” was the mantra or poor nutrition was modeled you will have to work intentionally to build new lifestyle habits. I think perhaps of all things, breaking free of family habits is the hardest thing but it can be done.

I also think it’s important to know what your triggers are, what have you “conditioned” yourself to that you need to rewire? Do you stop at a gas station and automatically think you need soda and a candy bar? Are you a little hungry and think you need to go through the drive thru before you get home for dinner? or to have a more nutritious lunch?

That was a serious revelation for me years ago…. I don’t need to run through and get something… I WILL NOT… starve to death before I get home… I won’t… neither will you. I try and keep small snacks with me if I do need something. I’m not saying you should ignore those natural body signals, just learn to plan wisely and have better snacks than the local fast foods value menu.

Like any habit we develop in life, our relationship with food (how we eat, what we eat, how much) are all driven by habits we’ve allowed to settle into our lives. With persistence and determination, you can build and develop new habits to support your lifestyle change. The most important thing is to be determined and make these changes each day to lead to permanency.