Simple Steps To Weight Loss And Fitness

I’m gonna try and keep this short and sweet. No. This isn’t a post about all my amazing short and sweet friends… and I have a lot of them… I mean when you rock 6’0 I have LOTS that fall into that category ūüėČ

I going to post some tips I hope are helpful and easy to follow on a daily basis because a lifestyle change is made by things we do consistently day after day. Building new healthy habits and actions leads to long term success.

Not crazy shenanigans for a few weeks then with a deep sigh it’s back to what’s normal and comfy for us.

Ready?

** Avoid extreme restrictions. This is the fastest way to derail yourself back to “Go”. Take away everything good and fun and tasty and make it¬†life sucking and you won’t be going anywhere fast.

** Do work on making small healthy swaps every day. If chips and a soda are your go to snack maybe work on dropping the soda and going with water, eventually getting rid of the chips too. Your goal should be eating healthy snacks the majority of the time. Add in an extra veggie with your meal and cut pasta/potatoes whatever in half. When you reach for something, take a moment to assess it’s value for you.

** Do use small amounts of time for exercise. I shared in another post how much I worked into a 30 minute block of time one morning. Even if you have 10 minutes… Knock out pushups…. you’ll be sweating like crazy at the end. Look for ways to build movement into your day. Take stairs, go for a short walk, park farther back at store, do squats, push ups or lunges waiting for your shower water to heat, use a push mower to cut grass ( my fav gravy activity) garden or work in your yard, all these things in a day add up and develop an active lifestyle. Note: this doesn’t take place of your purposeful exercise you should be doing.

**Set specific goals. Don’t just say “I want to lose weight”. Target a day to have realistically dropped a certain number of pounds. Hang a fav item of clothing in your way that you might want to get back into to silently challenge you. Select an event you want to train for. Maybe it’s to improve your lab numbers at the doctors office when you go back. ¬†Whatever you do, write it down, make it real and then go for it. It doesn’t hurt to share those goals with others for accountability ūüėČ

**Strive to eat well the majority of the time.¬† I shared in another post on eating that you can follow an 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time, allowing a 20% allowance for occasional treats and special occasions. As I’ve gotten more fit and my views on nutrition have changed I find myself in more of a 90/10. I just feel better when I eat well. You will too, trust me =)

** Finally know that change takes time. Change that is, that will last and result in a lifestyle difference. Changes in the scale, changes in your body, changes in how you see yourself all take time. Settle in and work slowly and steadily one day at a time, results will come.

Share with me if you have simple tips and ideas that have helped you be successful =)

Freedom With Food

Food…. I think I may have mentioned before… I kinda like the stuff.

And I don’t mean stuff I shouldn’t eat (much) but¬†the fact I appreciate and enjoy all the healthy good foods.

OK… disclaimer… this week I kinda got on a little baking/sweet treat binge. Chocolate chip cookies… peanut brittle … ( which I typically make at Christmas) but hey… I like shaking things up…

Can I just say… peanut brittle… is crack. That is all.

And this… when you don’t eat much sugar… and have “samples” of what you’ve made… it makes your tummy feel….bleh….

Is that a good or bad thing ?? ūüėȬ† I definitely am not tempted to eat much of it.

Food, I think we can all agree, is something we have total control over in our lives. Do we not ?

We have the freedom to eat when, how much or how little and what kinds we want to have. No one controls that.

To one extent, some use it as a source of power. It is the one thing they have absolute control over in their lives and sometimes it goes to the extreme, an eating disorder. It can also go in the other direction, eating what you want and how much with no accountability can lead to obesity and another type of eating disorder.

Food can definitely be a control/power issue.

Yet somewhere in those two extremes most of us are seeking to find a balance and order… a freedom with food that allows us treats on occasion but overall healthy eating the majority of the time to sustain life, give us optimal energy and health as well as maintain a ideal weight.

A couple years I started hearing about this rule… and well… if you know me by now… I’m a tiny bit rebellious against some rules.. especially when they involve food. Yet, somehow, this one didn’t repel me. In fact, it seemed to fit into my current philosophy on eating and getting all healthy and fit and stuff.

I started hearing about this thing called the 80/20 rule… meaning you eat good, healthy and balanced meals 80% of the time allowing in your week that 20% would be allowable for those things we really enjoy in life but have in moderation.

Birthday cake. A special dinner out. A couple of our most favorite, ever made cookies.

Just name your poison.

It seemed reasonable and sound, right ?

The other alternative thrown around I never got into the idea of, mainly ’cause it seemed so counter productive….

Cheat days.

A¬† day set aside to eat whatever and how much of whatever… with no guilt.¬† What if I didn’t feel like cheating that day ? What if my craving for a cookie hit…. on a different day ? Not only that, but why shoot an entire day down the toilet…not to mention how it will make¬†my body feel.

No….. that seemed like not the best fit for me.

So over time… I’ve eased into a unstructured plan of eating although honestly at this point I probably eat more of a 90/10 rule. Not to be restrictive or crazy… I just feel better when I eat well all the time.

In an athletic way… food fuels my activities and sustains me for what I do.. as an athlete I understand¬†I have to eat well to perform well.

You know why this idea works¬†? there’s such a freedom to allow you to enjoy eating what you like and to find your own healthy balance. And if you’re like me and don’t care so much for rules… this allows you to develop your own.

And no, you won’t go all crazy and eat stuff you don’t need…. after all you’re a smart grown up aren’t you ? But you can build your own plan and you will learn to be selective about the food choices you make and really determine what treats are worth having. Hint: a treat is something to have occasionally.

And as you do that you’ll find a new freedom with food you’ve never had. You’ll have power, but in a good way.

What works for you ? Have you ever tried one of the “food rules” ?

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 ?

Running On Food

Hello World!

So after nearly being washed away for what seems like eternity in the great and awesome state of Texas, it’s a wonderful treat to have some sunny days showing up in our lives.

I want to be out in it…. like a large lizard…. laying on a rock…. basking in it…

lizard

Nothing wrong with that, is there ? ūüėČ

Actually, my version of digging the sunshine and drinking it all in looks more like this….

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A little Mustang mischief going down… what a fun way to enjoy a long over due sunny day =)

Suffice it to say, after more rain falling on us than we have seen in years, and weeks of grey skies, there’s a new appreciation going around for some sunshine…..Happy dance that this weeks forecast offers up lots of the beautiful stuff……

Now on with the show…..

I was having a convo with a friend the other day in regards to how many calories swimming burned in comparison to running.

I was pretty confident that running was the top calorie torcher over other cardio activities .

On average and keeping it simple running gets you about 100 calories per mile.

Swimming is based on an hour time period and varies. A 130 lb person swimming free style in that hour can burn 590 calories swimming fast, 413 swimming slower.

Obviously in running some will be able to run more miles in that time, thus burning more calories. It’s a good ballpark estimate. I just love everything running does for me besides burning a few calories.

Ok, I don’t know about you, but I know I can definitely run for an hour, not sure on the swimming for an hour ūüėČ it might be on my future¬†list to be able to do that……

As my running “career” progressed and my miles increased one of the recurring comments I get is…. “oh, you can probably eat anything you want!”

Perhaps that’s true. The implication is in some ways, I can eat whatever random foods I want, I guess maybe I could, but I don’t .

I’ve never been one of those runners who “run to eat” or “run for desserts” or “run for beer/wine” … maybe I’m a weirdo…

I guess ’cause my running was born out of my quest for getting fit and losing weight that I never understood WHY I’d put myself through that intense workout to only come home and fuel my body with crappy foods.. It seemed so ….counterproductive.

Maybe it’s good that I trained myself in that way ’cause even after marathons and crazy stupid long runs, when hunger hits, I try and take in good foods in modest servings.

Not to mention my food intake on any given day is determined by what my training is for that day. Obviously, a 4 mile run will require less fuel and calories than when I run 20 miles.

So I guess as respect to my body I try and offer it healthy goodies pretty much all the time. Getting into that habit makes it a part of your permanent lifestyle change.

However, this is one complaint I hear from new runners who might be looking to drop a few pounds. “I’m running… but I’m just not losing weight”

Let’s consider if you run 3 miles ( and that’s running 3 miles) that you’ve burned the average 100 calories per mile. This is simple math so I can help you out here ūüėČ you’ve burned around 300 calories.

But, what if you stop at your fav coffee shop on the way home and grab a grande Carmel Macchiato treat… or whatever similar floats your boat ? The grande size is 304 calories…. you’ve just negated your calorie burn from your run.

I’m not saying you haven’t done something positive for your body, I’m saying if you want to lose weight it’s important to understand that running is a great fat burner, but you need to be aware of the foods you consume and how they fit into your day in your quest to drop weight.

Adopting a healthy attitude about fueling your body no matter what sport  or activity you pursue will help keep you strong and fit and help you reach your health goals.

What tips have worked for you losing weight and exercising ? Do you have a favorite after workout treat you enjoy ?

Hocus Pocus Weight Loss

Hey boys and girls =)

So as life goes, and as I mentioned to you in yesterdays post on Motivation, I get inspiration and ideas from you, my 1.5 readers, and as mentioned, I love the fact that through my journey I’m able to motivate and hopefully inspire others to make lifestyle changes.

Yesterday, it presented me with a perfect opportunity for a new post.

But first, this disclaimer on how this inspiration occurred.

I’m gonna have to reveal I was in a store, in pursuit of a dress, I had seen the day before and I was back after it.

Like a hunter pursuing it’s prey.

You see when I’m not in full blown athletic mode, I delight in being totally feminine and have a weakness for cute dresses ūüėČ

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How cute and summer fun is this ?? I don’t usually care for orange…but it’s the right…orange… and plays up my tan. Not to mention the style is a homerun in my opinion =)

Hubby will now know I have a new dress ūüėČ Oh well…. I’m confident he will like it too haha ūüėČ

Now….on with the show…..

After I had apprehended the dress and was ready to legally wed it, I wandered to the counter to make the transaction that would make us a permanent couple. The sales lady was one who has waited on me often and she is around my age.

She has often asked me what I “do” to look like I look. I’ve freely shared with her… and when I led a fitness challenge last Fall with 4 people she kept up with my stories I wrote in a little local magazine that tracked everyone’s progress.

I haven’t honestly seen her in awhile… till today… and I noticed she was remarkably thinner.

Of course I commented and told her I hadn’t seen her in awhile and noticed that she had really lost some weight.

She told me…. “when I talked to you during the time you were leading that fitness challenge it made me really think about things. I saw everything you had been doing and what you were doing with those people and I decided one morning that today was the day. I was going to do it!”

I commended her and said she looked good… and she responded “well I’ve lost more than…. a little weight… I’ve lost 42 pounds in 15 weeks.”

Ok… so at that point…. I kinda paused a bit……

That’s a good bit of weight to drop in such a short time…

One red flag showed up in my lil head.

She proceeded to tell me her doctor ( one locally in town) had this “diet” through her spa clinic¬† and she had decided to follow that .

I listened as she rattled off things like no fruits, only certain veggies, “high” protein (8 oz. meat a day) ¬†using “their” products, no natural or refined sugars, ( limited artificial sweeteners??) no breads, no carbs¬†etc…

( red flag 2 is going up in my head)

Till I finally blurted out…. “What do you eat??”

She pulls a small bag of chopped cucumber out of her drawer.

“well, I snack on things like this” (like….there are almost zero calories in that)

Ok I’m all for veggie snacks…. but I wanna eat whatever the heck¬†kind of¬†veggies I want….not only certain ones.

She tells me she has “their” oatmeal for breakfast, one of their protein bars for lunch (eek that’s it ??)¬†and some chicken and veggies for dinner… “and then there’s some supplements…..those….help. It’s amazing how little food you need.”¬† ( I feel my breathing getting shallow….)

Now…. that third red flag is up.

Hey, I get that. I’ve learned it doesn’t take tons of food to deal with your hunger and satisfy your bodies needs. But then there is a point where you’ve crossed that line of not enough food.

Then she deals the final blow……

“Well, they really discourage exercise for awhile”

I am pretty sure at this point……. my eyes…..were bugging…..out.¬† ¬†In fact, I know they were.

All the bells and whistles ¬†were now going off in me. I wondered how many more warning flags were gonna fly before my head exploded. I was kinda chewing on my tongue at this point….

I guess I was looking a bit blankly at her and she said….. almost whispering….¬†“well, the calories are so low, they want you to conserve your energy”

Seriously. The times I deserve an Oscar. Or an Emmy .Or some kinda statue for keeping control of my face… or the things that threaten to fly outta my mouth.

I hear myself ask…. “How many calories a day are you eating?”

To which she responds…… “I was afraid to count them in the beginning…. I’m not sure it was even 1,000.”

WHAT? WHAT?

I felt my head getting light just imagining it…. I said…. ” How did you manage to work? or do anything?”

She admitted in the beginning it was difficult…¬† I cannot even imagine.

I couldn’t help it…. I told her to be careful dipping her calories that low it didn’t mess with her metabolism.

She looked kinda blankly at me…. maybe it was the lack of carbs to supply energy to her brain…. and I knew she didn’t get it.

She said she wanted to get to exercising but that she hadn’t had the energy to do so.

I bet…..

With calories that low I’m surprised she could work and think all day long. Actually she probably couldn’t. Your brain can get very foggy with a serious lack of carbs.

She did look good. She probably doesn’t need to lose anymore weight. I hope when she comes off their “program”¬† she keeps it off.

Can I say this ?

First, I’m surprised a doctor would honestly put someone on such a restricted, low calorie diet. This lady was not horribly over weight, or into the “obese” range where they sometimes do drastic things for quick loss. I think of this as hocus pocus weight loss… now you see it… now you don’t.

Please hear me that I’m not shooting down her efforts. I applaud her for wanting to make changes. But if you’ve learned anything about me at this point it’s how much I hate this stuff.

Things that cost people money…a lot of it. Losing weight shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. Go buy honest food.

She also paid for the privilege to starve and buy their “supplements” and “food”.

I do hope when she’s off the program she will be able to keep her weight off eating normally again. This is the BIGGEST problem with these types of “diets”. Once you start adding real food back in, your body responds accordingly, especially when it’s been deprived.

This ( to me) falls into the category of those weight loss hype things. You pay big money, for their stuff, and yeah she lost weight, but she could’ve done it safer, and been more comfortable doing it ( not starving and dealing with all the consequences that come with drastic food deprivation)¬†even if it took her a little longer to reach that goal.

Along with this program, they’ve not taught her about sane nutrition or allowing exercise to be a part of her fitness regime. I’m assuming as she is allowed more calories, she will have the energy to exercise.

Please….please tell me… I’m not the only one horrified that you aren’t taking enough food in during your day that you can’t even workout???

Hocus Pocus weight loss programs abound right now in this country. Most are simply after your money. Lots are sold by your next door neighbor….who knows nothing of nutrition or weight loss….or what’s in the products she/he is selling you.¬† In this case, a doctors office offered up this great program….yikes.

Anyway, I’ll save my rant on Multi Level Marketing trends for another post.

Weight loss….slow….steady…sane….eat real food….toss in some physical activity… the only way to make it a permanent lifestyle change.

Have you ever participated in a rapid weight loss program? What were your results? Did they last ?

Motivation. Who Motivates Who ?

Somehow when I started my fitness journey a few years ago, I never saw the ripple effect that my journey would cause.

Well, truth be known, when I started I never saw myself as a runner, much less one who would in those next few years run marathons and an ultra marathon.

That mighta freaked me out more than a tiny bit. You just don’t indicate to a middle aged woman carrying extra weight, who isn’t working out, much less doing anything that looks like running that she will eventually be doing races that top 31 miles….yeah… it could’ve evoked the freak out mode… or made me laugh hysterically…..perhaps a combination of both.

Why are we guilty of sometimes not seeing the potential in ourselves of what we can do? I can tell you….where I am now…. and what I’ve learned…. I can flippin’ do anything I choose to.

It starts with believing you can. When the idea first came to my head that I was ready to take on a full marathon (which was after a particularly good half marathon race)

I did get that clutch in my throat…. and that brief thought…. “OMG! 26.2 miles to run?? What am I thinking??”

I was thinking it was time. I was thinking I was ready. Three half marathons under me had prepared me and given me confidence.

I never, ever, let myself entertain thoughts I might not be able to do it. Ever.

Every run, every time a run got longer….even as those numbers began to dip into territories I’d never been before. The more I did… the more empowered I felt…..I learned to simply stare it down…. take it on… and look at the next goal.

Running has shown me that huge goals are meant to be taken on, conquered and new ones set. Knowing you can run long distances honestly gives you this tough tenaciousness that carries over into the rest of your life.

Yet, as I mentioned in my opening line, I never realized as I pushed on to my goals, somehow, I’d motivate a few other people out there to start looking at their lives, their health and fitness.

I started posting my runs and workouts on my Facebook page early on. Not to brag. Not for approval from anyone.. Not for anyone really but myself. Talking out loud, putting down what I had done, or better, what I was going to do was my self motivation AND public accountability… people ask if you did something crazy!¬† And I didn’t want to say I hadn’t done it!

It really came down to another avenue of holding myself accountable.

But then… something weird started happening.

I’d get messages or comments asking about running. People wanting to start and figuring if I could do it so could they… nah….seriously… I was a real person they could talk to. Just recently, again, more messages. I LOVE encouraging people to hit the road =)

I started getting questions on eating and proper nutrition. Fielding questions on crazy diet scams (which I secretly love sharing with people on the reasons WHY they don’t need that stuff…ok maybe it’s not so secret ūüėČ

I led fitness challenges and helped people figure out what exercise and nutrition things worked for them.

I had men and women asking if I’d hold them accountable for what they were setting out to accomplish.

All ages from young adults to older than me adults ūüėČ it seems like no¬†matter where you are in life, you really never get to a point where you don’t want some encouragement in your endeavors.

Not only that…. I think my straightforward no nonsense approach on things resonates with a lot of people… or maybe it’s my off the wall snarky humor ? ūüėČ

Whatever it is…. somehow my pursuit of health and fitness has gotten people to think and more importantly, move.

I can think of nothing more rewarding than to hear from you all about what you’re doing, what you’re wanting to try out. I love that¬†you share your struggles with me ’cause you know I’ve had my own. And when I hear how you’ve lost weight and you’re¬† eating better and feeling good mentally AND physically? Have I told you how good that makes me feel ???

Come here…. get close to me… I wanna tell you something….

You. Motivate. Me.

You do. I know so many of you will inquire of me and what I’m doing…. you’ll offer words of encouragement (thank you) in¬† a way you have expectations of me and where I do things for myself, I know it motivates you too.

I think this really came home to me one day when I was out on my final long run before my 50K. I wasn’t running for mileage that day, it was a time run of 5 hours.

I found a message posted on my Facebook wall when I got home¬†from a friend that said she’d really been struggling with getting her workout done and she remembered I was out for a 5 hour run and she thought if Cathie can run for 5 hours I can get this done!

Yeah… I love that stuff.

Don’t get me wrong here…I really am a lay on the couch and eat¬†chocolate¬†fairly motivated person.

But you motivate me to want to bring you sound sensible fitness, nutrition and health information. I want to challenge you to live beyond what you think you can do.

I believe good nutrition is KEY to not only overall health but getting your body to where you want it. Because of my interest in that, and my disgust for all the over hyped “diet” and “health” crap out there and your genuine seeking and asking questions, it’s motivating me to¬† want to get a nutrition degree so I can really preach at you…. don’t worry I’ll still bring you the reality on the over hyped stuff¬†ūüėČ

So yeah, thank you for motivating and challenging me, as I challenge you. After all we’re on the same journey together.

That ripple effect… who would’ve thought ?

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¬†ūüėČ

Besides that¬†it’s my bi-yearly weigh-in. Yes, seriously, I see my weight maybe twice a year.. freedom ūüėČ ( 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 ūüėČ

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 ūüėČ 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?

Fuel Your Body Right

Food.

It’s no grand secret it’s the key to life ūüėČ I¬†really¬†kinda¬†like the stuff too.

I mean seriously, when you are honest to goodness hungry¬†and you want to eat the first thing that moves, doesn’t food taste… amazing ?? I don’t feel like that if I’m not hungry.

Give me an hour after an intense workout and I can do food like a piranha.

piranaha
Attractive, I know. Me….a couple hours after a serious long run….

And there’s sooo much deliciousness in this world we can choose from… vast amounts of food to handle our daily needs… aren’t we blessed?

Now here comes the trickier part… if we keep in mind that food is fuel for our body… to give us energy, balance, and stability for our day…we need to consider how we are fueling.

That can require some thought and preparation so when we are in full blown hunger mode, we can still make smart choices.

One thing I’m starting and it’s not a novel idea is chopping up all kinds of raw veggies and tossing them in a Ziploc bag. Now I know people do food prep and have cute little containers for the week or day, but I think it takes up to much space and my veggies don’t mind gettin’ all close and comfy in the same bag together ūüėČ

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Look at all those tasty critters living in harmony ūüėČ

This is handy in several ways for me. If I need a fast snack and those veggies are ready to go, I am way more likely to graze on them ( instant gratification) and if I’m super on top of things, I’ve also whipped up some ranch dip made with plain Greek yogurt to have with them, if I’m so inclined. On the lunch menu, I really love salads so having veggies I can just toss in with my spinach and not have to cut and chop¬†is a huge bonus.

Now all of you out there who’ve ever wondered how you get your veggie servings in … a super salad at lunch can just about get your there.. and you can snack like a ravenous beast on veggies…wheelbarrows full for minimal calories and huge nutritional benefits.

What? You can’t do it? Don’t like them so much over say, chips? Remember that habit thing we’ve been talking about ? Just start small, with what you like, and go from there.

Veggies are a wonderful fuel source for your body, and so good for you too. I love being satisfied, but not feeling lethargic, from a good lunch. The foods we eat can make us feel good, energetic, and stable or they can leave us feeling full, sluggish, lethargic and not energetic. Consider your meals and how you feel after… determine where you might need to make adjustments.

Remember the fuel illustration. If I had a high performance sports car, I wouldn’t put junk fuel in it.¬† Take the same approach to your body.

Food prep comes in handy to help you make good choices when you need them and gives you the ability to make wise fuel choices when you might be weak. It all keeps coming back to the habits we build…. train yourself to reach for good foods.

Other things you can consider:

Hard boil eggs for a quick protein snack or to add to a salad.

Have cheese cubed for an afternoon snack with some fruit.

Make your own snack mix with raw nuts and craisins ( I like the 50% less sugar ones) keep in small bags for when you’re on the run.

Greek yogurts… ready to go.

I love sweet potatoes. I usually roast extra at night so I can use in salads or for breakfast.

Mix up tuna with avocado. I love it by itself with some fruit or you can have it on a sandwich.

Keep fruit washed in ‘fridge¬†so it’s ready to grab.

I know when I’m hungry I’m less likely to take time to do certain things, so if I’ve prepared in advance, it definitely helps keep me on the right eating track. Making good choices makes me not just feel better physically, but mentally too.

Do you do food prep? If so, what tricks do you have?

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 ūüėČ

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 ?

Building New Habits

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

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:

‚áí Focus on one day at a time.

‚áí Have a longer term goal in mind too.

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

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

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

‚áíStay away from an “all or nothing ” approach.

‚áíSchedule 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 ūüôā