Diets And Your Relationship With Food

Oh boy. Here we go.

New Year and the diet industry is gearing up to guilt you into needing their products. You are being bombarded with all the reasons you need to get on their wagon.

Oprah now basically owns Weight Watchers and her commercials have been going like crazy. Her mantra is to make “2016 the year of your best body”.

I’m certainly not against that mantra… I mean… I want to be better this year than last year. I’m down for another year of my best body.

I can still be stronger, leaner, more fit. I just don’t plan to go about it with all the hype and diet products to achieve it.

Coming up this  week is a new TV show called “My Diet Is Better Than Your Diet”. I’m wondering if it will be the awful train wreck that “The Biggest Loser” is which also had it’s season premier this week.

I just have to wonder why it’s still around. I read a story on it the other day that the contestants workout 6-8 hours a day on about 1,000 calories or less.  A gerbil eats more.

I’d say all of that is insane but I don’t even know it that’s the best word to describe it. People will tune in and watch as a form of “entertainment” forgetting these are hurting, desperate and needy people who have been brought to this point. They have vast amounts of weight to lose.

The fail rate (that they don’t tell you about) is tremendously high.

Why? Because there haven’t been key important changes made.

Namely this… and it’s true for those on a reality TV show, or you my readers, and true of myself before I figured it out a few years ago.

There is this missing piece… and it’s crucial for permanent, life changing success.

If you don’t get your relationship with food right, and in the right place in your life, you will forever battle it. It will control you.

If food is more important to you than losing weight to be healthy and energetic then it’s time to look at it’s role in your life.

I firmly believe that food is not the biggest issue as is the reasons behind what drives someone to eat beyond what they need to support their lives and feed their hunger.

Sometimes ( and often) there are hungers and needs deeper than our appetites.

Loneliness. Boredom. Pain. Feelings of failure. Loss. Need. Lack of love. Acceptance. Routine. Emotional needs.

Mindless, empty eating, we use to try and fill aches, pains, and other issues in our lives.

It’s why I don’t think these shows will ever really work. It’s why I’m troubled over the “quick fix” surgeries that can rapidly drop pounds, but it’s not addressing the real reasons a person eats so much food to be in that place to start with.  If that person doesn’t make a mental shift and get food in it’s proper place, they will continue with the same behaviors and attitudes that made them fat.

The underlying issues need to be recognized to turn it around, to make food be what it is, enjoyable, life giving, but also controlled and managed appropriately. Food is much of a dangerous  drug for someone as cocaine is to another.

This is why 6-8 week diet plans will fail. And good intentions will go down the drain and you’ll console yourself with food again. It’s why patients who have weight loss surgery will regain weight they lost and be able to eat as much later on after surgery as before.

Years ago I figured out some of my triggers. I realized I had grown up in a family of emotional eaters. It was weird how I clearly saw it one day and called it for what it was in my life.

It wasn’t overly controlling for me ? But in my mom and grandmother it was very easy to see. They were both considered morbidly obese. I could look back at times and see how food was used for more than nourishment. It was often used as a form of comfort. The more you ate, the better you would feel, right ?

My brother had struggled with it too.

Now I am able to identify it in myself when I see it going on. Only now I ask myself questions and question why I’m eating? Why am I doing what I’m doing? How am I feeling ? What emotions are propelling me to go to food ?

Trust me… this was a huge step in my health and fitness journey.

So yeah. Let’s make 2016 “the year of our best body” but let’s decide first to get real with some things in ourselves that hinder us from moving forward to that goal.

If I offer any humble suggestions to you in this it would be….

*Pay attention to why and when you eat ( beyond meal time)

*Question yourself. Really, you can. Ask those hard questions. What is making you eat at that moment? Are you truly hungry? How are you feeling?

*Look at your family. Your childhood one and the one you have as a grown adult ( married etc) what are the eating patterns and habits? How is food used ? For more than nourishment?

*Do you eat when you are out by yourself ? In the car? Drive thru’s? Is it a habit ?

*Do you eat alone at night? In front of Tv? How much “mindless” eating do you participate in?

*What hurts you inside?  Do you use food to soothe your emotions ?

This is a place you can start. Understanding your relationship with food and taking a hard look at things like this can really help you move forward in your health journey…mentally and physically =)

 

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My 2015 Year In Review

So we’ve just wrapped up 2015 and are a few days into the brand new year. You don’t have to look far to see magazines featuring stories like:

“The Best Of The Year”, “People Of The Year”, or ” Things That Amazed Us” or some sort of various titles. All of them show casing people or events that highlighted the year… often featuring celebrities or major events.

Then I realized, hey, I’m not famous or anything but I had some really cool stuff happen in 2015. Well, cool stuff and hard stuff but that’s life, right ?

I daresay, if you look back at your year, you could say the same thing. We don’t have to be celebrities to have awesome things happen that are worth sharing or shouting from the roof tops, (nod your head yes 😉

So, humor me if you will, my year in review.

January found me coming out of finishing my second marathon in December dropping my time to 4:52 from my previous (first) marathon the year before I did in 5:23.

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Moments after the finish of my second marathon Dec 7, 2014

 

I had also turned 50 and decided I was going to run a 50K to celebrate that milestone sometime in my 50th year. I committed to it in January with the race date set for March 1. My training continued with my goal focused on the biggest race I had ever considered. My friends called me “crazy” and “insane” … I can’t think of better compliments 😉

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When you make something public… you’re really committed to doing it 😉

 

 

Sadly, and unfortunately, the Dallas/Ft Worth area had turned into a slushy, snowy, winter wonderland during race weekend. By Saturday night they had cancelled all races but the half marathon for Sunday morning.

I was beyond devastated. To get to that point… to have invested so much time training… to be so mentally and physically prepared… was crushing.

I cried. I won’t lie. I cried that night. I cried that morning watching them discuss it on the early morning news as I prepared to go run (at least) the half marathon.

I will admit to biting back tears waiting in my corral to start the race (freezing) …my “Ultra Marathon” bib standing out in stark contrast to all the half marathon bibs surrounding me. I remember smiling politely as a guy joked with me that this race would just feel like a “warm up” run for me.

But I didn’t go all that way to run and not do…. something….. it was certainly new territory for me as I had trained in everything I could… except snow and ice…

they had cleared the course as best as they could but the roads were wet and ice patches were everywhere and there were many points of dodging piles of slush. It was misty raining and about 35 degrees.  I finished in about 2:19. Not my most impressive time, but I did it. I had never been more cold or emotionally drained than when I finished that race.

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Clutching my hard earned medal in the frozen tundra 😉

 

I can pretty well say, I don’t think a hot shower had ever felt better afterwards.

 

Mid-March I had already planned to run a spring half marathon that was close to home for me. So two weeks after my frozen half marathon in Dallas, I was enjoying a romp through the downtown streets of San Antonio… in much warmer weather.

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On course in the last couple miles of the Alamo 13.1 half marathon

 

 

After returning home the race committee sent an e-mail that ultra and marathoners who hadn’t been able to race could do a virtual race (within that month) and still get all their runners goodies. I was down for that. So I picked a date and with my husband waiting for me at an appointed time I took off for my own 50K running adventure… on my own training territory.

It was a much nicer day to do it….

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Yes, still standing after finishing my first 50K =)

 

 

I will tell you this… I have never been more tired or physically exhausted in my entire life. 31.7 miles can do that to you 😉

But I’d never felt stronger or more empowered in my life. Doing something that is so huge, and so much bigger than you are shapes you into this iron willed creature. It makes you feel like you can take on the world.

Although.. I wondered if I’d be able to crawl into the shower once I came off my “high” haha

Ok… so yeah if you’re counting that’s two half marathons and a 50K Ultra marathon all in March. And I don’t forget my marathon from a few previous months before.  Not bad for a girl who started off just walking 2 miles at night a few years before…

April was a bittersweet time for me as I dealt with my Mom being gone for a year. Life is a mixture of all things… and grief is a process that must be worked through. She was so proud of all my running adventures.

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Christmas 2013. The last with my mom.

 

 

In May I was privileged to celebrate another anniversary with this amazing guy….31 years….give the guy a medal for handling me… haha…he admits to not being able to handle me 😉 My cheerleader, friend, supporter, one who has been with me through so much. I love him.

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This guy. I couldn’t do all the crazy stuff I do without his support and encouragement.

 

 

Unfortunately, after lots of training ( nearly 1,000 training miles in 7 months)  I picked up a pesky injury that sidelined me off running for awhile… to long… but I’d rather play hard, hit big goals, than sit back not trying.

This is how I felt about that….

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This shirt… perfectly expresses my feelings….

 

 

June brought unexpected difficulties to our lives as my husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. We worked and pushed through and tried not to let it define our lives as he went through all the tests, surgery and procedures that had to be done. He was so amazingly strong. We are thanking God that he was able to go back to work and is on the road to a full recovery =)

For my birthday in July, I picked up my second piece of artwork that I positively love….this has such deep meaning to me… courage to stand in life… to remember that life is not only beautiful but comes with pain and to be courageous in the face of it. Life can require me to fight back… to be courageous in battles and difficulties.

The piece that surrounds my wrist says “strength” on the other side that you can’t see.  Life has demanded much strength from me in these past few years… it is a life word to me.

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“Courage” my second piece of artwork. I’m in love with this.

 

 

And while we we’re moving through our year, we were also preparing for a wedding. My middle son was getting married in September to a beautiful young woman we love. There were details and arrangements and plans to be attended to.

In the end… they were married…and it was a gorgeous wedding with a stunning couple ( I am NOT biased at all haha)

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My son and his lovely bride =)

 

 

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Celebrating with hubby

 

 

I’d say both families felt successful when it was all over and everyone had a good time. I think I danced most of the night in my 4 inch heels. By midnight, it was time for them to come off 😉

I’m still adjusting to knowing…. I’m a mother in law…. I have a new daughter…. and I have a married son… the ring on his finger constantly reminding me.

And wrapping up the year… another amazing Christmas with my sweet, precious and beautiful family.

And I’m blessed to celebrate 33 Christmas seasons with my partner in crime.

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Another Christmas with my partner in crime

 

 

He always makes Christmas so wonderful for me. And yeah, I’m in shorts. It was a pretty warm Christmas day for us in Texas and since I was cooking and living in the kitchen… it was definitely more comfy!

Of course the year was full of other wonderful celebrations and events like birthdays and anniversaries and random fun moments.

There were up’s and down’s in the year. Normal days and days that made my tummy hurt. Days of laughter and days of tears. God was good to us.

I am grateful to have had an amazing family to move through 2015 with who celebrated joys and achievements with me.

Last but not least, I launched this, my blog, at the end of February. It had been a brainchild for awhile and I finally decided to get it out of my head and into the “real world”.

Thank you, all of you, wherever you are for taking the time to read me, support, and comment whether here or in person. It’s my goal in this upcoming year to continue to write with humor and fun but also to encourage, educate and inspire you to be the best “you” that you can be.

Now tell me… what big events are notable from your 2015 year ?

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Goals Not Resolutions

Happy new year

 

Happy, happy New Year to you boys and girls! 2016 is upon us full of hope and new beginnings.

ok well, technically as I write this, 2016 is a few hours away and I am hanging out in Starbucks writing and enjoying a rare treat away from my usual black coffee. They offered up something this year called “Holiday Spice Flat White” and it’s a taste sensory of holiday spices. steamed milk and double shots of espresso

It’s amazingly delicious… and it will be gone soon… just like this year.

If you’re like me perhaps you look at the year ahead and are making plans and setting new goals…or resolutions….

I know the thing to do is make new years resolutions but I really wanna talk to you about goal setting instead.

What’s the difference you ask ? Let’s take a look….

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. Do you see how that can go either way for your “resolutions ” ? Kind of subjective to your whim at the time, isn’t it ?  Not particularly concrete.

Now, let’s look at goal setting.

goals

 

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life.
It’s a pretty big difference from an ambiguous “resolution” isn’t it ?
At the top of so many peoples list for a new year is losing weight and starting an exercise program.
Setting small specific goals that are measureable and attainable will lead to your ultimate goal. Making a blanket statement that you want to “lose 25lbs.” without specific steps to get there will leave you most likely abandoning the idea fairly quick.
However, if you set out a specific goal to lose 1-2 lbs per week that is measureable, attainable and time bound. If you lost 2 lbs per week you would realize your overall goal within about a 3 month period give or take depending on how diligent you were.
Same for exercise. To just determine you’re going to go from doing nothing to taking off for a 5 mile run is crazy.  You’ll hurt and pay for it and vow that running really will kill you and you stop.
However,  beginning with a program where you implement walk/run and starting with 1-2 miles you can ease into it allowing your body to make changes and adaptations so you can run farther and longer.  You might have a goal of wanting to run a 5K race maybe 3 months out. By doing a walk/run method with your goals specific to increase your running time, and gradually increasing your distance will prepare you for that 5K (3.1 miles).
One of the things I thrive on is setting up a training schedule for my marathons.  I love the structure of a training program that leads to my ultimate goal of running 26.2 miles.  There is something about seeing my month already written out on a calendar that feels comfy to me… mainly ’cause I know those are steps to where I’m going. Without  specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time bound steps I’d never make it to the starting prepared and ready for that distance.
Let’s look at it from a nutrition stand point. So many people approach eating healthier as a do or die attempt. They think there must be great suffering and no fun stuff ever.  They believe they have to nail it every single day and if they don’t then they’ve “lost” and might as well “give up”.  (Please don’t give up… even on days you might feel like you’ve failed… you just pick up and keep going… that’s called progress)
When you take steps to make one better choice at a time it’s less painful to adjust. In time, you probably won’t think about some of those changes you’ve made as they become more habit for you.
If you drink sodas and you want to cut back or cut them all together you simply begin making small cuts to let your body adapt to that change.
Not a veggie eater? Why not try one or two new things a week ? You might be surprised at what you like.
Always take seconds at a meal even when you aren’t hungry anymore ? Train yourself to eat slowly and really focus on savoring your first plate of food.
Set specific, attainable,  and measureable nutrition goals for yourself.   A notebook or planner can help keep you on track with your goals.
I can’t claim originality for this but I love the quote “progress, not perfection”.
We aren’t ever gonna have it 100% “right” but we can keep on track to living a healthy, strong, and productive life =)
Tell me…. what goals do you have for yourself this new year ? What steps do you need to take to make them happen ?

Favorite Things Of Christmas

Christmas week. Christmas only days ahead….

Yikes!

I’ve been baking, shopping and wrapping like a wild woman.

My stockings have been hung by the chimney with care in hopes that I’ve been a good girl and Santa will leave me some goodies 😉

Decorating and getting out favorite Christmas decorations is definitely something I enjoy each year. As much as I love adding a new thing here and there with the passing Christmas seasons, it’s the old stuff that’s been around for awhile that really brings me the most joy.
You know how you probably have something that is “Christmas” to you? Maybe it’s a special food or cookie. Maybe it’s a particular decoration or something that’s been hanging around for awhile that when you get it out it evokes memories of years gone by.

That’s cool stuff….things that evoke memories of past Christmas seasons.

This first picture is a little village my grandmother put out every year for as long as I can remember. She would put the Barclay skaters out with the village. ( you can see them in the second picture… the people in this one are definitely more current) That was back in the day when lead figures were made of, well, lead 😉 I would get lost as a child sometimes just sitting and looking at it… that tiny little winter wonderland.

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As time went on and my grandmother passed away, my mom got the village. And after several years she moved on to a newer more modern ceramic one ( I never understood). One Christmas I was up in the loft in my moms barn like some large rat rummaging around for some things for her when back in the corner, forgotten, was the tiny village and winter skaters.

I immediately fell into begging mode… “Please, please, please let me have the village!” ( I can beg quite well when I have to 😉
She agreed and then I pressed again… “and the skater people? and the Santa and sled?” she told me to take them all…

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. After all these years, the village and skater people with the Santa were mine!

I brought them home and carefully opened up the box taking out each tiny house. They were dusty and dirty and in need of some repair… to which I carefully set out to do… that Christmas they were out again with the lights carefully shining through the back of them (they have little holes for lights in the back)

That day began my quest ( and addiction) to learn about these cheap little dimestore houses and winter village scenes. Much to my surprise I learned the set I had grown up with were actually houses at the end of the era of the “cardboard” villages (mid 60’s).

The Barclay lead figurines were from the early ’40’s. I also learned my Santa is very rare and quite pursued as he was the only style made like this in 1942.

Often referred to as “putz houses” in older times the village was arranged around and under the tree creating often spectacular and unique displays.

As my digging and research broadened I learned these houses had shown up on the scene sometime in the late 1920’s. The most spectacular, beautiful ones were made during that time through about the mid 40’s. Many of these were huge with exquisite details ( and were on ebay selling for crazy amounts of money which quickly left me out of the pursuit of many) and yes, I got the bug.

Once I started seeing some of the unique, and beautifully detailed pieces it was hard to not jump in and gather my own “collection”.

This is the picture below.

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The “youngest” piece is the big white church in the center…it’s about my age haha… It was in horrible shape when I bought it. Someone had put hot pink and bright blue tissue paper in for windows… it had no fence…it was dirty… and I restored it to what it looks like now. The peach church to the left I bought for 9.00 … the windows had been chewed out by mice..it had no steeple… or windows.. the cotton was not on the roof… it was dirty.. but it was so unique I wanted it.( and my family shamelessly laughed at me for buying it) It had an actual little light in the bottom you could turn on. I bought it and carefully restored it… it is the piece I’m most proud of giving new life to. Even serious collectors I sent pics to were amazed at how it was restored.

I think my favorite pieces to find are the “cotton topped” houses, but especially the churches. These seem to have had a time span of only the early 40’s.

All of the houses in the second picture range in age from youngest of 55 to about 85 years old. The small house in forefront with lots of really tiny windows I believe is circa late 1920’s making it the oldest. Houses with the figurines of Santa and the Priest were made during the early 30’s and are most coveted by collectors today.

Given that these were cheap cardboard little pieces that sold for 5-10 cents during their brief time in history I find it totally amazing they are still around all these years later. I wonder about where they’ve been and what history they’ve been a part of. Todays villages are pretty but totally pale in comparison to me when I see the old antique beauty of these pieces.

In the second picture you can see the winter skaters and Santa and reindeer that were a part of my childhood village.

This is a part of Christmas that delights me in that childlike way.

Tell me… what special thing is it for you that says Christmas ?

Running, Recovery, And Rebellion

Hello World =)

Ok so I really want to write fun, happy, feel good Christmasy stuff for you… and I will…. ’cause it’s the most wonderful time of year 😉  but I’m gonna share a little more about running and specifically my struggles these past few months about getting back on the road again.. and my recent stint doing some Airrosti treatments.

Perhaps my sharing might encourage some of you who are battling a sports injury and struggling or maybe I can  offer some helpful recovery ideas for you crazy athlete people out there.

I think the frustrating thing these past few months has been trying to nail down exactly what the issue is that’s plaguing me. Going to an Airrosti sports therapy place was kinda like my last ditch effort to see if I could miraculously get fixed.

I mean come on… they promise to help you be better in a couple treatments… it was hard to pass on trying it.

One thing I had heard before I walked in the door from people who had gone were that you could expect pain. Ok whatever… if it helps let’s do it.

After getting my history I was on the table with the nice sports doctor doing some crazy things to my feet and calves… and yes… there were moments of total pain that I honestly stopped talking and reverted to using breathing that I did during childbirth.

Yes. There were moments of pain that intense.

Fortunately, it was short lived 😛 After my time with the nice doctor I was ushered over to a sweet young lady who worked with me on stretching, foam rolling, and other foot and ankle exercises.

I’m a runner. I know the benefits of foam rolling. They just were taking me to different places with the whole rolling thing.  I was finding out about all these places in my body that need stretched and worked ( toe exercises???)

In the past few weeks I’ve learned more about the inner workings of my body ( muscles, fascia, tendons etc) than I ever knew. Y0ur muscles are all sorta wrapped up in this fascia stuff and it can get knotty and tight and bind to your muscles…. that’s the fun stuff they were working out… and teaching me how to really work, stretch and manipulate it at home.

I’ve never thought much about my feet running. I know they take a pounding and I put them through a lot but until I got injured, I honestly never thought about it.

Ahhh…. what you learn to appreciate.

Anyway, after they finished working on me, I got taped up, and actually it felt pretty amazing. The tape acts as a gentle support to the joints while allowing for freedom of movement. Not nearly as constricting as an ace bandage 😉

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KT tape is like a constant soft hug. Can I have someone always do it for me ?

 

I got some great tips….

For example, instead of the bag of peas I was using for icing, they told me about ice cups. Literally, little Styrofoam cups you fill and freeze,  then cut the bottom half of cup off after frozen ( the upper part you leave on and as your insulation 😉 I then rub this on my feet, heels wherever I need iced. It’s a little messy but feels amazing.

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Peas.. aren’t just for eating anymore 😉

 

of course other things to get in those tight places… a lacrosse ball can really be worked into the arches of your feet. I use it while I’m getting ready in the morning just rolling my feet out on it.  And a rolling pin isn’t just for making cookies baby… you can roll out areas that are harder to get to with a traditional roller.

A resistance band is great for small movement exercises. Ahhh it’s way harder working small little muscles than things like your glutes or quads!

Yet, as mentioned I’ve learned a lot about key roles these muscles play in my running and they need specific strength training too.

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Some simple tools to work small tight areas on your body

 

Now rolling…. specifically foam rolling. Nothing feels better on tight muscles. I was quickly informed that they would be getting me off foam and onto a pvc pipe for rolling… that my muscles would adapt to foam and not the get benefits they need from rolling. I laughed and informed them that was gonna hurt.

That’s pipe people! No give to it at all….

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Top: my standard foam roller. Bottom: my new roller. Yes, it’s PVC pipe.

 

 

I was informed when you play hard, you gotta work at keeping everything maintained well. Intellectually, I know that, but like I said this was such an education for me to the inner workings of my body beyond what I knew. She tells me, “you know, like your car? How you maintain and do stuff to it to keep it running well?” as an athlete you need to remember you need to do these things to your body to keep doing what you’re doing”

Just when you think you knew a lot… and were doing all the things you were supposed to… you learn more!

Ah… yes… I understand… but I just wanna be over and done with this.

At one session when the doctor was working on me and we were talking all things running and he was asking me about what got me into distance running and I was sharing a bit of my story and then I told him….

“well, I ran a marathon, two half marathons, and a 50K within three months the first part of this year. I’d rather know I accomplished that and invested myself into the discipline of training and running them than doing nothing and wondering if I could. I’d much rather take some knocks from hitting goals than sitting around doing nothing.”

He agreed.  When you play hard, it’s almost inevitable at some point you’ll get whacked with an injury.

I guess that’s where the rebellion comes in . I want to be back out there. I want to be pushing distances again and intentionally training for races. I’m not patient when it comes to this thing called a recovery process.

The treatments helped, yes. I learned a lot to use in the future for specific running recovery.

Am I over my issue? No. It antagonizes me, flaring up and then settling down again.

It makes me feel rebellious. It makes me want to fight back even more, to get stronger, to be able to do more.

Determined and head strong aren’t bad things when they motivate you to do what needs to be done to get back doing what you love full speed.

I’ve slowly and carefully worked myself up to 5.50 miles with my next goal being over 10K.

Close so close.  From there I will set another small goal.

I’m learning I can’t just sail in from my run, do a  little stretching and scamper off, but to take time to stretch my muscles  really well from the workout they just went through. I’m learning to set aside time to ice my heels ( they kept stressing over and over how good icing is for injuries)

I have my sights set on a spring half marathon….I’m hopeful…. =)

Tell me… in the ways of treatment do you get frequent sports massages? Have you tried Airrosti before ? What things do you to stay sane and get through a total recovery process ?

Don’t Wait For Next Year To Change

January

“Well, I’m just gonna get started in January, you know, once the holidays are over.”

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it, yeah, a lot.

The New Years Resolution.

The New Years promise to finally “get in shape”, to “lose weight”, and to “get healthier”.

What it might amount to is a fairly guiltless free for all of eating for weeks like a man condemned to the gallows never to see good food again.

Then with a rigid determination come the official first of the year and a stoic do or die approach, you set out to finally lose weight.

All the good foods are gone ( you might have helped eat them to “get them out of the house”) you’ve stocked up on celery and rice cakes and pulled out the Jillian Michaels workout video that you will overdo on and hurt like heck the next day ’cause your body is protesting all that activity. You will hop on the scale looking for it to show some “loss” to reward you for your first hard day of labor and suffering.

Ha.. ok.. I’m  messing with you, but maybe you see yourself in there somewhere.

I do. I used a lot of my past to kinda make fun of the predictable behaviors so many go through each year.

Sad thing is, those good intentions, almost never last past that first month.

I just want to encourage you to not wait for the New Year to start focusing on taking care of yourself. Each day is a new opportunity to eat well, and get in some good purposeful movement. I was talking with someone and again the conversation came up that exercise is something our bodies require for health and wellness, not just to be used as a tool to lose weight ( although it helps with that too).

Exercise is crucial to our overall well being! And needless to say, eating well, gives us good energy to move through our day.

I want to challenge you to not wait for 2016 to start making changes, but begin today.

Taking small steps each day will position you to continue forward movement after the holidays are over towards permanent healthy changes.

Can you think of a better way to start off your New Year ?

The Delicious Habit Of Exercise

Hello World !

Wow.. I can say that and mean it literally =)  Ok so I figured I’ve been posting this week on habits and how important they are to our success in living a healthy lifestyle, I figured I’d end the week talking about another important habit we need to build in our lives.

Exercise.

OK stop… I hear your collective sighs and groans and gnashing of teeth.

You hate to exercise. It’s hard. You sweat. Your heart beats fast and your muscles protest. Your thighs rub together in an uncomfortable way. You have sweat trickling down in areas you don’t think it belongs. You think you’re dying.

Good. You’re doing it right.

I’d have to say when I talk with people, alongside wrestling with food choices, exercise is a hard thing for people to develop a habit for.

Why? ‘Cause it’s hard and almost everyone will find something else to do besides that.

I think personally, the most important thing you can do to guarantee you stay with it is find THE thing that you love to do… then become an expert on it.  If you are passionate about what you do, you will stay with it.

I usually hear… ” I can’t run” or ” I hate running” because people know it’s what I do and what I’m passionate about. I remind them it’s fine to run… if they want to… if they don’t.. then please… don’t.

I also think it’s great to have a couple things you enjoy that keeps you from getting bored and allows you to change things up.

Being injured these past few months has kept me from running much, therefore, I’ve spent lots of time on my bike. I have loved it and it’s given me an outlet for not being able to run. I have days I’m inside and do strength training. I love having choices and enjoy them all.

Each one of these activities have developed because 1) I enjoy them 2) I’ve repeatedly practiced them.

Exercise isn’t just a weight loss tool and shouldn’t be viewed as just such. Yes, when we eat right with exercise, the natural outcome is weight loss.

But our bodies need movement for overall health and wellness. Exercise offers mental clarity and can reduce blood pressure and improve other health issues.  Not only that it can produce overall feelings of well being.

Why wouldn’t you wanna make that a life habit ??

Like anything, it requires persistence, and a certain amount of stubbornness to make it happen on a daily basis.

In my opinion, habits are built on a determination to change something in our life… good or bad.

The common “reason” I hear for people not exercising is … time. Listen, if you have time to do anything in your day, you have time for exercise too.

I know that mornings are my best time to get it done for a variety of reasons. First, nothing feels better and more energizing than having a workout done and tackling my day. I also know mornings will be my most successful time to make it happen for sure. If I say ” Oh, I’ll do it after dinner” I know there’s a huge probability it might not happen. There’s to much going on. People are awake and want things from me. I don’t feel as perky. The list can go on….

I do have a HUGE amount of control on when I get up in the morning to making that happen.

When my husband was unexpectedly hospitalized several years ago, I’d get up at 5:30, head out to do some strength training, finish up by the time the kids were waking up for school, get cleaned up, put them on the bus, and head to hospital.

I needed that time for myself. It helped keep me sane in difficult days.

Exercise at that point was a need and a habit for me. It’s more so now.

I’ve gotten up at 5:30 midweek to knock out a 10 mile run before the critters had to get out for school. Yes, I had to make adjustments and schedule it, but hey, I do that with anything else in my life too.

I read an interesting comment in a running article I was reading. Although it was talking about running I immediately identified it as applicable to exercise in general.

“It takes about three weeks of running at least three days per week to get to the point where missing a workout triggers a sense of withdrawal, which increases desire to be more consistent. ” (emphasis mine)

I get that. I get twitchy if I miss a day, and it’s worse with two. But sometimes, life happens.  I don’t mind feeling that sense of withdrawal because it keeps me hungry for doing it. But what those three days in article means is, they are making it a habit they can’t do without, conditioning themselves to making it feel normal.

So how do you begin to build this in your life ?

Identify what  your best time of day is to get it done. Morning? Evening? Early afternoon before kids descend on you again ? Figure it out.

 Now….put it on your planner. I literally make appts around my workout schedule. Make it fit in your day.

Mark a starting day ( soon!) that you know you will get it going.

Perhaps you go buy some new shoes for your activity with the plans to start the following week ? Some new clothes ( I always look forward to the next run when I get new gear 😉

Start small and keep it maintainable. As you keep those commitments look at how you can challenge yourself and increase what you’re doing.

Allow yourself no excuses (other than valid ones like injury or a day that goes wildly out of your control)

Reward yourself in non-food ways.

With a little planning, a positive attitude, and a determination to make exercise a part of your life, it will become your new favorite habit =)