Not Running Sucks.

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Let me tell you how I really feel….. #nofilters

The shirt says it all.

I recently picked it up ’cause I had really scaled my miles down to almost nothing and was totally … hating it…..

After todays doctor appt. it reflects how I’m going to be feeling for awhile.

At some point it was bound to happen…. work hard… play hard… play harder…. injuries become a possibility. Or a reality. You can get hurt doing stuff you really love that you throw yourself into with abandon.

It sucks ’cause this is my first running injury.

Oh, I got sidelined a few years ago for like… 6 weeks… when I took the motorcycle down learning to ride….. that’s when I learned big bikes and gravel aren’t a good combo. I hurt my knee which knocked me out of running.

I literally cried the first time I was back out for a run. I had been so afraid the time away would make me not want to do it anymore. Nothing, was farther from the truth. I embraced that run back out celebrating my freedom and my restored health.

So I’ve been babying my heel for a month or two. I’ve intentionally brought my miles down hoping and allowing it would give my foot a break to heal.

In the last couple weeks I’ve scraped running and just focused on cycling and other stuff… still… it remains..

Which pushed me to an official appointment.

In a nutshell…. foot doctor confirmed what I knew…. Achilles tendonitis.

No running…at all.

No impact sports at all.

No movements that put strain on the tendons which rules out strength training moves with my lower body like squats, deadlifts etc. Cycling if questionable.

I left thinking… I’m going to go stir crazy…. almost all active movement has been axed.

Please hear me… I get it. Once again, I’m crazy, but not stupid. My health and getting 100% again is my most important goal now so I can get back out on the road.

But…..still…. no… running ??

I actually found a sports med doctor I’ll be seeing in a few weeks. I want someone who understands athletically where I am and how to treat me. And a second opinion is never bad. He does triathlons so I feel like he’ll “get it”.

Meanwhile, I am being a good girl. Ice several times a day, no running around barefoot (this kills me too, I’m a barefoot girl! ) I have discontinued all activities that would possibly strain or further irritate my injuries.

Swimming appears to be the most recommended and supported activity for this kind of injury. How ironic that I am constantly telling people how weak I am with swimming that this will now be my main form of cardio for awhile. Hmmm maybe when I go through this time I’ll come out a stronger and better swimmer.

Is this the silver lining in having my wings clipped ?

I will confess to tears… and frustration… and pain… and wondering how this will impact the goals I had set for myself in the remainder of the year. I have worries of “what if”.

Serious marathon training is set to start in August… at this point I don’t know if I’ll be healthy to do that yet.  My marathon in December… will it happen ? The goal of finding a duathlon to train for ?

I just don’t know.

This I do know.

I miss being on the road. I miss the feeling my body gets from running long and hard. I want to plan a long run and be out early and see the sunrise while I’m doing it. I want to be drenched in sweat and feel like a million bucks from challenging myself to do more. I want to tear up hills and feel my body respond to the challenge.   I’m jealous when I read running posts or see someone running.

I want to stop and say… “don’t EVER take for granted what you’re doing right now… it’s a pure, sweet  gift.. value it”.

Ok… this post… is really letting me process and get this outta my head. I know what I have to do and will do it… I promise to keep you updated and make my whining… minimal…..

You just don’t take a woman who’s been running and active and clip her wings without a lot a few tears and angry stomping of her feet.

I will regroup and look at what I can do, implement, and improvise. I might come out of this a better swimmer, which means, maybe a tri wouldn’t be out of my realm of possibility at some point. I will learn to do more activities that work my body while protecting the hurt parts. I will add more boxing with swimming to get in some good cardio..

Basically, I will develop a new game plan and bounce back while I “recover”.

I’m wired like that….get pushed down… and figure out how to get up and fight again.

But for the love of all things running… I really…. hate… this.

Talk to me…tell me… have you dealt with an injury that sidelined you ? How did you handle it? This is my first serious one so …do you have words of encouragement ? What helped you through it ?

Love Yourself And That Whole Self Esteem Thing

Love yourself.

Yes, I went there with that.

And no, I’m not talking about it in a narcissistic way, but a healthy value of who you are and what you bring to the world.  Confident in your skin and loving yourself, warts and all. However, we can often be our own worst enemies when it comes to valuing who we are.

You don’t have to look far today to be inundated with magazines and the internet showing you pictures of “how” you should look and what the “ideal” image is. Media seems to scream at us from all angles.

It largely seems directed towards women, but I know you guys get it too.

Almost seemingly, perfect, flawless, toned and non-defective bodies glare back at us.

No stretch marks. No loose skin. No scars, blemishes or imperfections. Thighs with space big enough to drive a truck through. Large breasts, tiny waist and equally balanced hips are offered up on the body buffet challenging us to up our game to reach that goal.

Guys, you might deal with the perfect 6 pack abs,  (big) strong arms and shoulders all the while being challenged to not have an ounce of extra flesh around your waist… you have your own challenges too… I get that…. and don’t leave you out of this equation.

Honestly, it can mess with those of us who have the best self-esteem and confidence levels.

How does one achieve such standards of perfection? More importantly, does it even exist ? And bigger question yet, do we want it ?

A few things that are obvious and clear but I’ll go ahead and state. These people often make a living by their bodies and what they look like, they have been in fitness/health industry awhile so it’s important to maintain a standard. They have to absolutely live a particular lifestyle to maintain their bodies and what they’ve achieved.

Nothing wrong with that, it’s just a higher calling than most of us will ever embrace.

Ok, and then, let’s not forget, photo shop does a pretty good job at shaping things up too before our eyes view it.

Whatever…. we see it. And it can leave us feeling defeated before we leave the starting gate.

Getting comfy in your own skin really does let you appreciate others beauty without crippling your own self-esteem. That is a process that takes time and certainly not learned over night.

I think in life lessons learned it’s important to get ok with who you are. Your flaws (real or perceived) imperfections, or other things that make you feel “less than” valuable or worthy.

Please pay attention: none of those things make you broken…. or lacking…. or flawed.

It does reflect your life and what you’ve lived and gone through.

Your story. Your own one of a kind story.

Every mark or scratch, scar, birthmark, the way your body is shaped, the angle of your jaw and set of your eyes…. all those things make you uniquely you.

Yet… we can struggle in it.

Watching my teenage daughter grow up is vastly different from having teenage sons. Body image is obviously huge among these young girls trying to grow into their own confidence and budding self-esteem which is often at an all time low.

If there is one thing I want for her is to teach her to love and embrace herself and not fall into the comparison trap, the trap that leaves us feeling like we aren’t good enough, adequate or whatever, although I know it just goes with the teenage years, heavily.

Opportunities can abound in daily life for teaching…for instance…. one day we are driving along and she says…

“Do you think my thighs are big ?”

It is the moment in life when you think… “OMG do I have to answer this?” and for a brief moment I feel pain for all the dudes who have ever had the female in their life ask them “do these pants make my butt look big?” and they get that deer in the headlights look about them….seeking escape….

But I’m driving…and can’t escape….

I take the easier way out…. and say… “How do you feel about them? And why would you say that?”

She launches into how her friends have thinner ones and one had commented on hers…. the reason now for the question… the question that has caused her to view herself in a different light.

I ask her if her legs let her dance, kick and jump? run? walk? Were they strong for the things she did in her life?

She answered yes….

I reminded her I didn’t have “skinny” legs but I was ok with that…. they were strong and muscled and had carried me many miles running and done several long distance races. They were big, but powerful, and I liked the strength they had. She has always been proud of my running accomplishments and immediately got what I was saying.

I told her she needed to be proud of her strong legs and know that all of her life she’d be seeing women who would be shaped in different ways and that she couldn’t compare herself and decide she was “lacking” in some way. She needed to love herself and appreciate her own unique beauty of who she is.

I can admire another woman’s beauty, without compromising my own self esteem or feel like I’m inadequate.  I can appreciate the gifts she’s been given while not devaluing my own.

I want my daughter to be able to do the same. To  know her own beauty and worth because when she does she will be able to build other women up and not tear them down. To love herself means she will be able to love more fully.

The same goes for you, my faithful reader.

I personally believe I have a Creator.

I love a particular verse in the Bible that says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

I take that to mean…. I’m just rather cool and awesome how I’ve been put together….. and so are you.

Be comfy in your skin…. love yourself. Maybe you’re on a journey with some specific goals…it’s ok… love who you are  and where you are right now as you travel along.

Have you ever struggled with these issues? Do you now ? How do you deal with it ?

That Aging Thing

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Yeah…. the benefits of… maturing…  I have fun messing with people….haha 😉

Middle age.

What is that exactly? What does it look like and how is one supposed to behave ? Actually, I’m sure to the disconcertion of a few, I didn’t read the book on what you are supposed to do, look like, be like, dress etc  but tossed it out the window to freely do my own thing 😉

I have no intention of playing by someone else’s rules about life.

You see even though I’m not sure what it’s supposed to look like, I’m totally digging where I am, who I am, and what I’ve learned to this point in my life.

To have knowledge, confidence in who I am, life lessons learned, and a healthy sense of humor intact are things I embrace having. It’s empowering to know yourself and be comfy in your own skin.

Turning into an athlete in my middle aged years and getting strong and chiseled when I could be going to marshmallow fluff is a huge bonus.

Seriously though, as a woman who is (technically) older I do read with some interest articles on health, strength and overall wellness as people age. I really don’t think about age nor do I let it define a single thing I think about taking on. But there is some belief, perhaps misguided, that age is the culprit for loss of strength and physical decline. I don’t want to go there… I want to stay strong.

I mean, is it age that ’causes us to get weak and unable to do things? Or is it the simple truth that we don’t use what we have and lose it ? Do we get frail because of age? or is it that we’ve not intentionally kept working our bodies so they are conditioned for these activities as we get older ?

We become sedentary which leads to feeling tired which leads to not wanting to do things and that in turn slowly erodes our physical strength.

I talk a lot about the importance of having muscle on your body. It’s a good thing. Metabolically it burns 6 calories an hour while resting while the same pound of fat burns a measly 2 calories at rest.

The main reason we lose muscle ? Lack of physical activity….

From the time you are born until you are about in your 30’s your muscles continue to get larger and stronger.  However, at some point in your 30’s you begin to lose muscle mass and function. People who are inactive can lose 3-5% of their muscle mass past the age of 30.

The technical term for it is sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength, and functionality. Like osteoporosis, sarcopenia is a multifactorial disease process that may result from sub-optimal hormone levels, inadequate dietary protein, other nutritional imbalances, lack of exercise, oxidative stress, and inflammation.

Sarcopenia and osteoporosis are related conditions, and one often accompanies or follows the other. Muscles generate the mechanical stress required to keep our bones healthy. When this muscle activity is reduced, it increases our susceptibility to a loss of bone mass, often initiating a vicious circle of declining health and functionality.

Loss of muscle means loss of strength and mobility. This can lead to falls and the physical weakness many associate as “age” related…. loss of muscle leads to a weakening of the body.

Is there a treatment? Yes! it’s called exercise specifically resistance or strength training… exercise that increases strength with resistance bands or weights. Research has shown a progressive resistance training in older adults can have results in as little as two weeks.

Nutrition  also plays a vital and important role in maintaining our muscles.

Eat high quality protein each day, aim for about 30 grams per meal. What does “30 grams” mean in real-life terms? It’s equal to a three-egg omelet with ½ cup hard cheese or 1 cup of Greek yogurt with an ounce of almonds mixed in or a cooked 4-ounce hamburger or 5-ounce salmon fillet. Eat adequate protein, but remember eating excess only leaves your body or stores as fat, it does not build more muscle 😉

Get your heart pumping too… don’t forget it’s also a muscle that needs work. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day a minimum of 3 days a week. Brisk walking, cycling, rowing or running all are good heart pumping exercises.

No matter where you are in life you can start making changes and have improvement  gaining more strength, energy and flexibility for your daily tasks. As with anything new, before you jump into a strength training regime, consult your doctor for the best plan for where you are and get ready to get stronger =)

What’s your favorite strength training activity ?

Does Exercise Have Benefits?

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Hey boys and girls =)

You think I lost my mind with the title of this blog, don’t you ? Little Ms. Fitness Girl asking such a weird question?

As blog ideas go, I get inspired from all kinds of sources in my life to write on. Recently, a comment came up that made me ponder, do people REALLY question that purposeful, physical activity is good for their bodies, and their minds? Heck, it benefits all aspects of who we are as individuals.

I know, I know… many of you feel like…. this….. you need to work and move past this stage…. you can… it will take effort on your part.

hate exercise

But in this day and age of so much information and knowledge we possess, can people still remain largely ignorant to the fact our bodies are made for movement? Need movement for health and wellness? That intentional exercise has benefits that keep us strong and healthy ? And in turn, that gives us energetic and productive lives ?

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of brisk cardio activity 5 days a week (this is an activity that gets you out and increases  and sustains your heart rate for at least 30 minutes) for people who would benefit from lowering blood pressure or cholesterol they recommend 40 minutes of aerobic activity to lower risk of heart attack and stroke. They also recommend two strength training days a week as well for everyone.

What are other benefits to regular exercise ?

It controls weight and helps in weight loss.

It combats health conditions and diseases. Being active actually can “boost” your good (HDL) cholesterol and decrease unhealthy triglycerides. As I shared in a previous post on my labs, for me, this is true. My HDL was high and my tri’s were very low. I credit it to adequate and consistent exercise along with healthy eating.

Exercise can improve your mood. Blow off steam. Get a little emotional lift. Feel mentally empowered. It definitely can lift your mood.

It boosts your energy. Hey… that purposeful exercise you “practice”? it comes into play in the rest of our day when you need strength and energy to do tasks.

It promotes good rest. Trust me, physically working your body will help you sleep well 😉

It’s good for your sex life. Regular physical activity leaves you with a high level of energy and looking better which can have a positive impact in the bedroom. Win/win.

Exercise can be fun! The important thing is to find what you enjoy and can be passionate about. Don’t find just one thing, find a couple activities to shake it up, keep it fun and interesting. Find the thing that you can do and stick with it. Become an expert at it.

Exercise is not an instant gratification activity but it can begin to have some immediate benefits… like just over all feeling good that you went out and got it done… it’s mentally empowering. It can also bring about a sense of well being and peace.

However, with consistency and time, it does really cool things inside our body that we don’t see. Our heart and lungs get stronger, our resting heart rate can get lower, blood pressure can drop, cholesterol levels can change. Our body goes through amazing changes as exercise adapts it to new physical demands. No one knows this better than a distance runner 😉

Exercise can also combat or protect from various diseases and health conditions… isn’t that motivator enough?

Other suggestions for “extra” movement in your days…

Look for ways to move more. Take the stairs, park farther out at the store, get outside and do some yard work ( I love using a push mower simply for the extra work it gives my body to do it) garden, play with your kids, go ride a bike anything that gives you some extra movement in your day.

These activities though, don’t take place of those 30 minutes (or more) of heart pumping, sweat inducing, exercise ( fast walking, running, cycling, swimming, rowing… get it ?)  make sure you get that time in…. anything else is gravy.

And finally, after awhile, making that investment into yourself to do purposeful exercise, your body begins to change. The outer look (aesthetically) almost becomes a by product of what you’ve been doing. I don’t know anyone who isn’t happy with those changes that show up from an investment of hard work.

Understand too, that this is a habit and a daily discipline you will have to school yourself in until it becomes something you can’t imagine NOT doing. Trust me, you will get to that point. You just need to be as intentional and purposeful about it as anything else you find to be important in your life.

Your health and well being IS important. Shouldn’t you do things to be pro-active about keeping yourself healthy and well ?

You are definitely worth it =)  Do you have a favorite activity ?

exercise benefits

Those Necessary Vitamins And Minerals

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The natural way to get your vitamins and minerals….                                                                                                                                                    

It’s an interesting thing when hubby is in the medical field and I drag home my lab reports like a lil kid wanting to flash a report card with all “A’s” to their parents.

I show it to him letting him do his own professional look over when he proclaims that, yes, my HDL (good cholesterol ) at 80 is pretty amazing and everything else does look awesome but, “my potassium is really on the low end of the scale…. I need to eat more bananas or foods to push that up a bit.

For the record, mine was 3.7 with the low number on the scale being 3.5.

Ok, so maybe he was right. That was hovering right around the low end and those numbers don’t even reflect my body when I’m in the midst of heavy training.

Whoa…wait… maybe my dear 1.5 readers you’re sitting there scratching your head thinking… “what is potassium and why do I need to be concerned over it?”

Simplified, potassium along with sodium and chloride is one of your bodies most important electrolytes which are minerals in your blood, urine, and bodily fluids that contain an electric charge.

No kidding right ?? You’re ….electric 😉

Nearly 70% of your potassium is found in bodily fluids like plasma, blood and sweat, while the rest is stashed away in your bones. The adequate daily intake is 4.7 grams but most Americans don’t get enough in their diets… remember it’s flushed from your body in several ways making it a daily ongoing renewal.

This mineral does a lot of other things, like keeping your blood pressure in check among others.

In an average day we lose potassium through urine and sweat, but here’s where I sat up and paid more attention.

Athletes can have a higher loss due to more sweating, more so if you really sweat out a lot ( which I do).  Lower potassium levels can decrease your endurance and energy. Specifically, potassium works to regulate the nerves and muscles, it is also involved in the storage of carbohydrates to fuel your muscles. You need to consume potassium rich foods every day, especially if you’re an athlete.

It definitely is something I will be making a more intentional focus on especially as we move into warmer months where sweat abounds in physical activities 😛

So what will my strategy be? I’ve made a list of high and medium potassium foods, the majority of which I eat. Bananas are a high potassium food so I’ll be intentionally hammering out two a day.

Todays afternoon snack was a banana with some raw almonds =) I’m just going to keep track daily for awhile to see what my intake actually is.

I’m not getting all crazy over it… just some purposeful eating and then careful attention to my performance to notice any changes.

Who would think a mineral could make such a huge difference in the performance of your body?

And remember boys and girls the BEST way to get all of your vitamins and minerals is eating real food….not through shakes, pills, patches, powders or other random drink things.

This is ends your public service announcement 😉

Weekend Q&A Time

Ok so I hate not having something to share with you guys…but sometimes the weekends are…well.. the weekend.. and I give my brain a little time to rest from churning out (hopefully) relevant and encouraging words to you.

Sooo I decided to do a fun little Q&A thing… based on questions I’ve been asked at various times. Some, with predictable frequency, some just random. I’ll toss in the humorous and inquiring ones as well.

Here we go……

Have you always been a runner ? No. I’ve been running almost 5 years now with 7 half marathons, 2 full marathons, an ultra marathon and numerous smaller races under me. I think I need to stop considering myself a newbie 😛

You weren’t athletic in school? I was a band geek and twirler, does that count ?

Is running really hard? Yeah… it’s why I love it. When runs feel easy, you know you’re getting stronger.

How tall are you ? 6’0… barefooted…however I love heels which can throw me into the 6’3-6’4 range. #noapologies

Do you always eat healthy ? 95% of the time yes. If I want a treat, I have it. All things in moderation…leads to success.

How long is your marathon? 26.2 miles

Why did you start running? the insanity took over  nah…. really honestly, I started running ’cause I walk so crazy fast, it was easier to kinda lope along… eventually my speed picked up… and somehow… I was transformed into a runner.

What do you DO to look like that ? (as person indicates their hand up from my feet to my head) I make myself move and sweat a lot, lift heavy things, and I don’t have an affair with food 😉

You’re how old? Do I need to disclose that ? 😉

Do you do anything else besides run ? Yes, I love doing anything that keeps me entertained and moving. I’m getting more into cycling, I love the brute force of boxing, weights make me feel strong, swimming… anything to keep it moving.

Do you really drink black coffee? Why yes, yes I do.

Do you win your races ? Yes, every time I toe that start line, and every time I finish, I win. Personal victories are amazing.

How long is your marathon ?? 😉

What about your….. knees… don’t they hurt?? Nope but thanks for asking.

I’m not sure I want to lift weights, won’t I get bulky?  Do I look like the hulk ? 😉

How do I get abs?  We’ve all got them. On most people they’re hiding out under some extra body fat. Healthier eating, lower body fat and exercise can coax them out.

Did you play basketball? **see former band geek status**

Are you always training for something ? Pretty much. I love having goals and I love the structure of training.

When’s your next race? My next big race is a December marathon.

I don’t know if I could run all those miles. How do you ? One at a time…..

I’m trying to eat more veggies but I hate broccoli… what should I do?  Ha… don’t eat it 😉

Exercise makes me sweat. I can’t stand that. Doesn’t it bother you ? Not at all. It makes me feel like I’ve brought it all to the table.

Ok… that’s it for my random Q&A session… .. have a question? Toss them at me for future non-brain taxing blogs 😉 Meanwhile, have a good weekend!

You Are What You Eat

Hey boys and girls =)

So in view of my focus on being fit and healthy, one of the things that is important to me is making sure that I take care of myself with proper health care. I kinda refer to it as temple maintenance… just like we maintain anything else in our lives… shouldn’t managing our health be at the top of the list ?

That being said, today was my yearly check in with my family physician. One of the reasons I see him is to have labs done to make sure my thyroid levels are all still on par (which they have been for years now) I learned a lot about this tiny little thing (that we all have )several years back.

When I could barely drag myself through a day without desperately needing a nap, and I’m totally serious, my gyn inquired as to if I’d ever had it tested.

I was like… “what’s a thyroid??” haha

Anyway, a blood test revealed mine was way low on producing enough hormones which is why I was dragging so bad.

One tiny little pill and in a couple days… I felt like Wonder Woman… amazing. We will be fast friends for the rest of my life but I’m ok with that.

And by the way, the thyroid produces two hormones, T3 and T4, which control energy, regulate temperature, and assist other organs in their functions. It controls your metabolism and keeps your whole body functioning properly. It’s crucial that it’s all in balance for your overall well being.

Now that I educated you on that….. in a nutshell version 😉

Besides that it’s my bi-yearly weigh-in. Yes, seriously, I see my weight maybe twice a year.. freedom 😉 ( this will lead to another post on weight and body composition…watch for that)

Anyway, Mr. Doctor is also a friend in the “real world” so I don’t mind seeing him…  walks in and promptly says…

“Got your labs. Your boring. Good boring.”

He then rapid fire goes through numbers with me….all of which look stellar. My blood sugar, which I’m careful to watch since I’ve had family members deal with diabetes issues, came in at a low level. He also promptly said “and your cholesterol looks awesome, especially your good one” which was like 82.

For most people, yours truly included, getting the good cholesterol up is harder to do….exercise and eating well can drive it up.

(Hang with me… I’m going somewhere ) after going through labs it led into my athletic adventures. Not only does he counsel me on a “normal” person level, but also who I am as an athlete and what I’m doing physically.

We discussed my goals for the year…  my interest in a tri or duathlon…his concern I don’t run my legs off ( I promised him I DO listen to my body) … tried not to giggle as he once again proclaimed ” I don’t get you runners!” and talked over cross training, rest and recovery ideas.

He said “I’m always trying to get my patients to exercise and.. you… I feel like  I need to keep you reined in!”  haha

I love his support and encouragement… even if he might think I’m a lil crazy 😉

As he mentioned again my labs and how good and strong my heart and lungs sounded I quipped…….

” Seriously, all that exercise and eating right SHOULD have pay offs!”

Now here’s what I want you to pay attention to……

Our health and fitness levels are revealed in a lot more ways than how strong we may be or how fast we can run, or aesthetically what our bodies may look like. Yes, that all reveals levels of health, strength and fitness. When we have blood taken and tested that gives us a look at what’s going on INSIDE it also reveals an extremely important level of our health and wellness.

I know that sounds like a no brainer but so many people miss that.

Eating well and purposeful physical movement is an investment into our lives and the quality of them. I can’t run strong or lift heavy or take on the million tasks in my day if I neglect to care for myself in crucial ways.

I eat lots of veggies and fruit…rarely eat fast foods or refined/processed foods… lots of water.. minimal sugar. Overall, I make an attempt to eat well 95% of the time ( you do know I still like my occasional Peanut M&M fix 😉 and sometimes, yes, I do want to eat that burger out somewhere. I workout doing something 5-6 days a week and see my exercise as important as anything else I have to do.

It’s in the overall constant choices we make that matters.

How you eat doesn’t just fuel you for energy , but builds and strengthens all those internal things you don’t see but which are so vastly important to our overall health.

There is a huge truth then in….you are what you eat =)

How do you look at that? Have you ever given much thought to the fact, the foods we take in have a great impact on our internal health and wellness ? Have you had to make changes? How has that worked for you?

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 ?

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 =)

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 ?