Spotlight On Eggs

In todays food spotlight we’re gonna talk about eggs boys and girls.

The incredible, edible egg.

I know… it’s not a fruit or veggie but they are such a wonderful, complete food source I though we’d take a look at these little gems the chickens offer up to us.

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Jumbo eggs are where it’s at 😉

 

They are frequent visitors to my breakfast. The solid punch of protein not only keeps me feeling satisfied, it also keeps my blood sugar levels even and keeps me from having that crash I sometimes can get with more carb type breakfasts like pancakes or cereals. Eating eggs with a healthy dose of veggies also keeps me full and energetic for hours without thinking about food or getting hungry.

Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high quality protein. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk. The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

One large hard boiled egg contains 78 calories, 6.3 grams of protein, 5.3 grams of fat and 0.6 grams of carbs. It also contains high levels of cholesterol, and other vitamins and minerals like selenium, riboflavin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, and folate.

But aren’t eggs bad for you?

there has been talk in the past that eggs caused cholesterol problems, that they are high in cholesterol and therefore would cause individuals to have raised levels.

But did you know…. eggs consistently raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol?  The cholesterol in eggs actually helps regulate the two cholesterols found in our bodies.

Eggs offer a crazy amount of health benefits

  • Strong muscles: The protein within eggs helps keep muscles working well while slowing the rate at which they are lost.
  • Brain health: Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are needed for the regular functioning of cells, including the brain, nervous system, memory, and metabolism.
  • Good energy production: Eggs contain all the daily vitamins and minerals that are needed to produce energy in all the cells of the body.
  • A healthy immune system: Vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and seliniumare key to keeping the immune system healthy.
  • Lower risk of heart disease: Choline plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with the development of heart disease.
  • Healthful pregnancy: Some nutrients within eggs help to prevent congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.
  • Eyesight: Lutein and zeaxanthin help to prevent macular degeneration the leading cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins also promote good vision.
  • Weight loss and maintenance: The high quality of protein within eggs might help keep people energized and feeling fuller for longer. Feeling full prevents snacking, which reduces overall calorie intake.
  • Skin benefits: Some vitamins and minerals within eggs help promote healthy skin and prevent the breakdown of body tissues. A strong immune system also contributes to a healthy look overall.

That’s a pretty long list of reasons to add eggs into your daily nutrition plan!

Eat the whole egg!

Seriously, eat all of the egg. The yolk contains tons of minerals and vitamins that are good for you.

egg-benefits

 

Egg yolks contain more vitamins, and larger quantities of those vitamins than egg whites.  Egg yolks are actually one of a handful of foods in which Vitamin D is naturally found.

Other good stuff in the yolks…

A typical egg contains around 1.3 grams of phospholipids, and most of that is in the yolk. Egg phospholipids have benefits for…

  • Cardiovascular health. Egg phospholipids may affect cholesterol and inflammation levels in beneficial ways.
  • Metabolic health. One study found that phospholipids from egg yolks helped decrease blood pressure and improve vascular function.
  • Memory and cognitive function. Phospholipids may protect against Alzheimer’s Disease, although it’s always worth mentioning that rat studies are not human studies and this is still pretty preliminary.

Ok besides all that healthy stuff, they just taste good! Right?

Of course, we’d all agree they are pretty tasty in cakes and cookies haha Fried, scrambled, poached, sunny side up, in a scramble mix  however you cook them they are good.  But there are so many ways they can be prepared that makes this perfect complete protein a tasty meal or snack.

How about a few tasty egg recipes?

 

So that’s a quick review on the humble egg, the complete protein food.  Eggs should be a part of your healthy daily nutrition plan and eating them only has positive health benefits for you.

Tell me, how do you like to eat them? Do you have any favorite recipes?

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Small Success And Great Ambition

It was the typical usual morning. Wake up, do some stretching before stumbling out of bed and heading to kitchen for the first of my coffee fix.

Let dogs out, let dogs in, feed dogs, let dogs out.

Grab second cup of coffee and check in to social media world.  Scrolling through I can see who’s been up all night if there are a zillion posts from them ( sleep people, sleep) I keep on scrolling squinting with one eye pasts the political posts and cheesy memes, blandly go through all the advertisements and for sale ads (unless some cute furniture item catches my eye) smile at the usual real life, real people photos, giggle over some posts that make my day already at the still dark thirty hour, and then, sometimes, something comes along that makes me pause and think… like this one..

great ambitions

I read it, then read it again. I kinda just let it breathe over me. There are some posts that strike me like that. They make me pause, reflect, look inside and examine it and then consider it’s impact on me.

The person posting it asked what it meant to the reader and was encouraging feedback. Although it was still early in the morning I let my mind engage and began thinking of what it meant to me, how I perceived it and what my take was on that thought.

I am not the only one I pondered, who has had great ambitions or currently has them.

Of course I believe those are largely dependent on the individual too. I mean, my ambitions might not be as big as someone else’s, but then, mine are quite a bit bigger than others.

If we get lost in the pursuit of our ambitions it might be easy to dismiss the small successes that lead us there, right? We could be so single minded and focused on the “big” thing we are pursuing we could stomp right over small successes and never give them a thought, perhaps even not seeing them as relevant.

In general, I think people can be so focused on hitting the goal, they may miss the important things learned on the journey getting there.

Those small things are what grow us, build us, and shape where we go and who we are along the way. If we are moldable, we learn and that shapes us on our way to the bigger things we pursue.

As I pondered those ideas in the early morning hour I started thinking about how learning to run one mile had led to me running more miles until ultimately, several years later I did a race that had 31.6 miles in it.

It took lots of small successes for me to step out and do a 50K.  It took time building my mileage little by little.

I never took it for granted, the privilege and ability of my body to run.

Small success to me meant overcoming things like a desire to stay in bed when it was dark out and I was getting up to go for my long run. Or leaving when it was cold or wet.  Overcoming myself to do bigger things kept me on the path to those bigger ambitions I had.

Similarly, I thought about last year when I made the commitment and signed up for my first duathlon.  There were so many small successes that led to me ultimately not only doing it, but placing first in my age group too.

After my very first training session that was a bike ride, immediately followed by a run, I wondered what I was doing.

It felt awkward. My legs felt like spaghetti noodles the first half mile. I wondered if I was really going to be able to get this thing down.

I did it again the following week and the week after that. Not always fast, not always the most skilled, but I did it. It then turned into a run/bike/run training session.

And I got stronger, not that the training was easier, I was adapting to it.

Small baby steps all the while I was keeping my eye on the prize, that big thing my overachieving self was pursuing. An ambitious goal for a average middle aged female athlete, competing in the race listed as the toughest in the state.

If there’s anything athletics has taught me, ( well, it’s taught me a lot but….)  it’s taught me to appreciate all those small things that get me to my final goal, the big thing I’m pursuing. Because it takes week after week of those small things to nail the lofty ambitious goals I tend to set for myself.

As I continued to sip from my almost empty coffee cup, I thought of so many other things in my life that if looked at in a separate way, might seem inconsequential, yet again they had a specific place in my life for getting me to that “bigger” thing.

I always want to be pursuing something ambitious, something bigger than life that scares me a little. I don’t want to get so comfortable being “comfortable” that I lose the rush of a new dream or vision or opportunity to challenge myself some more.

But I never want to become complacent and unaware of the small steps, the small victories, and sometimes not noticed successes that lead me to the top, for those things pave the road to my accomplishments.

So I’ll leave the same thought with you, that my friend left with me….

How do you personally define this? Do you relate? Do you ever think of the small things as being important to the “big” thing you pursue? Or do they seem unimportant?

Just Don’t Quit

dont quit

I stumbled across this quote one morning looking for something on not quitting for one of my social media posts.

I liked it because it wasn’t one of the zillion cliché quotes about not quitting or giving up… and well.. it was honestly quirky enough to completely suit me.

I recently asked for thoughts from people on why they believe people quit what they start.  Why do some hold on to what they set out to do with all they have, working hard and refusing to give up and others, with the slightest discomfort, lack of reward, or immediate gain, throw in the towel and quit ?

I had my own opinions/thoughts on it, but wanted some feedback.

I got responses like “it’s a part of our individual personality”, ” it’s how we were raised”, “it’s something learned”,  to my favorite, “it’s pure stubbornness and a refusal to give in”. I think that’s my favorite ’cause it’s how I’m wired 😉

But I was also raised to finish what I started. I was raised by strong women who didn’t give in when things got rough.

As a grown woman who has lived a lot of life I realize I have that same grit and strength I was exposed to growing up.

It serves me well.

But then there is also who I am as a person. By nature, strong willed and a wee bit stubborn.

I believe all those traits meld together to push me to take on things that make me feel like they can eat my lunch… like my fast upcoming duathlon.

I did my most likely, next to last training session on the course this morning.

It was grey, cold, windy, and some on and off again misty stuff thrown in for good measure. Rain mingled with my sweat is always an interesting feeling.

The wind seemed to delight in coming from angles that weren’t helpful crawling big hills on the bike. It was my suckiest time ever since I started. On a good side, I also did my fastest 5k time, dropping it again from last week.

The good and bad.  I mean I was out there doing it so it’s all a win, right? But that quitting quote rolled through my head.

Not mind you, that I was pondering quitting. Not when I’ve come so far and worked so hard.

Not a fat chance.

But let’s look at a few reasons why people might throw in the towel, or you know, quit.

~ People usually give up or quit when the going gets rough or it takes to long. They fail a few times, don’t know that the struggle is part of the game and walk away from it.  Obstacles are a part of pursuing our goals or dreams and as we get more proficient in what we are doing the obstacles get a bit easier to get over.

~ There’s a lack of ownership. Is it your goal? Your dream? It’s difficult to stay motivated if it’s not yours. You must buy into your goals and dreams. Own them. It totally changes the game. Once you own them, you can begin the steps of practicing to get where you are going.

~ Not willing to put in time required. Training for a duathlon, I knew what I was up against if I was going to do it. I knew the time and training that would be required to get me to the starting line. If you decide to set a lofty goal for yourself, understand what the time investment will be. Reaching our goals takes hard work and a lot of practice. If we don’t excel in something it will take both of those to get there.  Being a multi sport athlete is certainly nothing that was in my back round or skill level. It has required hard work and a lot of practice.

~ Limit distractions that get in your way. So many things clamor for our attention now days and if you let them get in your way you may find yourself getting side tracked from what you are pursuing. You may have to set things aside to make time for your goals and to ensure you don’t quit.

~ People often quit when there is insufficient reward or as I refer to it, instant gratification.  They feel like they’ve invested a little time of a few weeks or a month and expect results. Everything from weight loss, to a new career or hobby or getting fit. It takes time. I didn’t wake up one morning and go run a marathon. I didn’t just sign up for a duathlon and go do it. Little things at a time have built on the other leading me to bigger successes. This goes for anyone. If you want to do more, you’ve gotta invest the time and energy and not expect instant results.

~  A lack of belief in themselves. Simply put, you’ve gotta believe you can do it or you’re out of the game from the beginning.  The first time I realized I was really committing to running a full marathon the thought danced through  my head…. ” That’s 26.2 miles. That’s so long. How will I do it?”  I immediately stomped those thoughts down, never let them back in, an proceeded to not only train for my marathon but go on and do more too.  Those thoughts had no place in my head if I was going to be successful.

~ And a final thought that I think is perhaps the biggest reason to why people quit or give up or whatever you wanna call it.

They simply lack the discipline to see their goal or idea through to the end.

They can’t get themselves to see the end result of what they are pursuing.  They haven’t developed the habits required to work on the days they not only feel like it, but more importantly, days they don’t feel like it.  Trust me, heading out into a cold, wet morning to train isn’t necessarily my idea of a great time. Staying in warm and drinking coffee is definitely more appealing but it’s on those days I have to rely on my discipline to get me out the door and get the job done.

There has to be a willingness to take on the good days and the bad days to get where you’re going.  You have to push forward no matter what the challenges are that come at you IF you are determined and stubborn to reach your goals or dreams that you have.

If you struggle with quitting when things get rough or don’t produce fast enough results, consider some of these points and determine where you can change things in yourself.

With some intentional choices and a willingness to fail and make mistakes, along with some stubbornness and purposeful dedication, you will be able to achieve your goals.

Do you struggle with following through? Have you before but have you overcome obstacles to get to your goals? What did you find worked best for you?

Transformation: It’s The Small Things

As I’ve meandered along these past years on what I refer to as my “journey” in fitness and nutrition,  I’ve had opportunity to talk to a lot of people who are on the same path, or trying to stay on it.

Some are successful and have found the right “blend” that works for them, the thing that is sustainable allowing them to keep after it day after day and still live their life.

Others are still struggling, battling against various issues that push them back from staying on that road to success.

I’ve seen people excitedly get started and then I’ve watched the excuses start creeping in. Excuses for eating poorly or not getting exercise. Excuses for why there isn’t a loss on the scale.  These reasons seem justifiable to them.

And I know as well as anyone how you have to battle back against excuses that creep in and try to side track you.  Because in the beginning, they always do. And it’s easy to give into them because you haven’t been grinding it out long enough to make these things a habit.

You haven’t been doing enough purposeful exercise so it’s easy to tell yourself that missing today won’t matter… until it bleeds into the next day… and the next… and then you aren’t doing it at all.

You haven’t trained yourself to turn a blind eye to the box of donuts in the office break room or pass on eating seconds because you mentally know and understand these practices won’t support your current health goals.

So many things go into our success ( or lack thereof) when it comes to our health and fitness goals.

So many things must be done and built into new habits to contribute to our success. Without building these skills, we will keep sliding back to where we’ve always been.

It takes a measure of discipline, hard work, and the ability to have days we fall and get back at it.

It’s all those small things we do consistently that lead us to where we want to be.

If there’s one thing that stands out working with people ( and those who get discouraged and give up) it’s this….

No matter what you tell someone, those small things, done daily, add up.

Unfortunately, they have thoughts that all their weight will magically go away in a week or two, forgetting they’ve been adding it on for months or years.

They start exercising and get frustrated that their body is reminding them it hasn’t done work like this in a long time, if ever. And trust me, if you don’t think you’re “out of shape” before you start an exercise program, you do when you’re body is gasping for air or aches the day after you’ve done something.

It is enough to make you want to quit before you even get started.

Raise your hand if you’ve been there. Yeah, I have too.

But when you decide you’re in it for the long haul, and you settle in to just living life, and then you just do those things that need to be done as a part of your life, changes will happen.

It’s the small things.

Yeah,  I know in the world we live in today it’s all about instant gratification, quick results, no discomfort, and easy results.

Sorry. It just doesn’t play out like that in regards to  health and fitness.

Small choices we make, small moves we make, small daily consistencies, add up.

I was thinking the other day, plowing up hill after hill doing a 5k run for the duathlon how doing it was  hard work, but work my body has adapted to and learned to respond to. My heart and breathing are strong but not in that horrible way when I was out of shape.  I also have a fast recovery heart rate now as well so when I finish, it doesn’t take long at all to be breathing normal again or have my heart rate back in a much lower zone.

Of course it wasn’t always like that. When I first started taking on hills, depending on size, I’d maybe do part way up, and then reverse my route. As I got stronger I walked strongly all the way up. As my cardio system got stronger too, I could walk them and not have my heart pounding so fiercely or be breathing as hard like a fish out of water.

Eventually, I was just all out running them. It’s such a cool feeling when my body just kicks in and does what it’s been trained to do.

The steep grade of the hill and how my legs feel pushing up it. How my body position shifts. How my breathing changes to a deep even rhythm to push on.

Small choices and activities led me to that point. Small choices also led to weight loss, getting stronger and doing more athletically.

I cant stress enough to you… if you’re on a mission to get fit, to get healthier, to lose weight. to train for an Ironman, whatever your goals are… those small choices you make each day will get you to where you’re going.

You might feel like what you do today doesn’t matter or it’s not “changing” anything. You might feel like that longer morning walk wont  result in anything or skipping on that extra treat won’t matter, but it does. Do that in a week, you’ve made progress.

And don’t forget, there is SO much going on inside you that you don’t see. Changes, growth, energy being built from what you’re doing, fat leaving, muscles growing. Your body beautifully adapting to the new changes you are putting it through.

All from those small, daily, consistent things you do.

Don’t give up. Don’t quit.

The reward is big when you don’t.

small changes

 

Weight Loss And The Non Supportive Partner

Spouse-sabotage.png

 

As I sit here rolling around ideas and topics to bring to you in this post (’cause there really are so many things to talk about, right? )  my mind is taking a little different bend on an area that might not be discussed often but it’s something that  I know some people deal with.

I talk a lot about weight loss, healthy ( sustainable) ideas to achieve it, exercises to support it and keep you fit, but what about the person who is trying to lose weight and get on a healthy lifestyle but has….

A non-supportive partner ?

What does one do when their support system is non existent or sabotages their efforts? I have to admit, this is a complete foreign concept to me as I’ve been blessed with a husband who has always been supportive of my efforts of anything I do, and not just losing weight.

Of course his position has always been… ” I love you no matter what size and shape you are” and good thing ’cause I’ve been many sizes and shapes in our 35 years together haha 😛

Seriously though, I’m glad he’s always felt that way, but never opposed to me improving either.

He’s more likely to chide me now days about not eating enough on my heavier training days than anything or give me a hard time if my day has been busy and I haven’t eaten in awhile.

In our time together I experimented with some different things along the way and he let me do my thing.  I got on the current path I’m on ( you know the sane, sensible, non crazy, sustainable lifestyle path) and that has just been a path that totally blends in with my family and has allowed me to stay successful.

I know not all people are as blessed to have such a support system. Cleaning out things in my moms home recently I came across a “Dieting Journal” she had started one January.

**Sigh** isn’t that when everyone thinks they should start? Anyway, I will share more about her insights in a later post but she had written something that I always knew because it frustrated her and always contributed to her not being successful.

Some of her struggles were wishing that my dad would be more supportive and helpful to her on her attempt to lose weight. I think he had a thing for heavier women, but I also wonder if he fell in the camp that if she did lose a lot of weight she’d be more attractive to men. ( this is a common problem at the top of the charts problem for people with non supportive partners)

He had a thing for junk food and he had ways of offering that at a point you’d finally give up and say ok ( like when he would offer me Peanut M&M’s 😛 )

She continued writing that he didn’t help her struggles and almost seemed to double up efforts to offer her foods that didn’t contribute to her being successful and how discouraged she was. At the time, they were on the go a lot and she writes about the fast food on the go and feeling like her day would be “lost” because of the foods they would eat.

So what do you when you have a non supportive partner and are trying to adopt a healthier way of living ?

What do you do when those around you say “you’re fine just the way you are”?

Well, yeah you are fine, but let’s be real. They aren’t the ones dragging your flab around, are they ?

Of course the implication is they love you “however”, but again, refer to my previous thought. They aren’t dealing with your clothes not fitting, or you feeling out of breath with simple tasks, or the fact you can’t bend over and get to your shoe to tie it, or how it all makes you emotionally feel. Nor are they considering your overall health.

I’ll sketch out a few ideas/suggestions that might be helpful.

First, ask why your partner or those around you don’t want you to do it? It’s ok to listen, but don’t let that sway your decision to be about what you want to do.

If it’s your partner there could be a lot of insecurity or worry. Maybe talking and reassuring them could go a long way to gaining their support.

Jealousy could be a bigger issue and one that’s harder to get around. They might simply not want you to get the attention it may bring.

Express your concerns. Tell those you love you want to do it to be healthier for yourself and for them ( it should always be about you first) this can be hard if you’re in an overweight family and everyone sees it as “normal”. It may be harder to convince them that you are doing it to have a healthier life.

You may have to just shoulder it on your own. However, in the process you’ll be gaining will power of yourself, after all, you and you alone controls what goes into your mouth. That is something no one can make you do.  It also falls on you to develop an exercise regime. Again, you are responsible for getting your body moving each day, no one else.

On that thought, you may need to stand firm from those in your life who might try and sway you from not doing it.  Make a list for yourself of how it makes you feel, and what your future goals are. Arrange things around your exercise time and don’t let other things try to knock it out.

Making healthy lifestyle changes in the mix of non-supporters can be hard but sticking to it will only develop your mental strength as well.

Go into it with a real mentality. People will offer you food you don’t need that won’t support your goals. They won’t be cheering for your exercise efforts. They won’t acknowledge the physical signs when your hard work begins to pay off.

It would be great if we got that encouragement for our efforts but it’s real life and we don’t. You can cheer for yourself as the pounds drop off and you slip on smaller clothes.

Assume that sometimes there could be someone who will attempt to make you feel guilty over the changes you’re making.

Honestly, that’s their issue. You… need to have none of it. Their issue is theirs. You just keep doing what you’re doing.

Learn to be direct. It’s ok to say no thank you to foods or drinks you don’t want. It’s ok to pass if you don’t believe it supports your efforts or if you just flat out don’t want it.

You don’t need to point out “you’re dieting” or “trying to lose weight”.  A simple no thank you is enough.

Try to keep this in mind….

many non-supporters have their own health/weight issues. Seeing you out there nailing it and becoming slimmer and more fit might just rub them the wrong way.

Again, it’s their issues, not yours. They may have their own insecurities or body image issues. That is for them to deal with, not you.

Be clear with your partner on what you need and what that support looks like. As in “please don’t leave my favorite cookies laying around” , “understand my workout will be the first thing I do in morning” or whatever it is.

Ask them to get on board with you. Maybe set up a friendly challenge to compete with each other.  Maybe he doesn’t need to lose weight, but might need to start moving more. Find something that might get you both going.

Keep your goals in sight, whatever that looks like for you. Motivational quotes, pictures, clothes anything that reminds you of what you’re doing.

Teach your partner about healthier food options, while letting them know they can still have some Oreos along the way too 😉

Finally, as much as you might want support, if you have to accept you won’t get it, remember you are totally worth the efforts and investment into yourself with healthier eating and taking time to exercise. Don’t get discouraged but maintain your focus on your personal goals. Hopefully, with some time and consistency, you will get a support team on your side to celebrate with you.

Have you had struggles with this? Have you lacked support in your quest to get healthier or starting an exercise program? How did you deal with it? Were you able to stay the course or did you quit ?

 

The Power Of Your Voice

inspiration

 

It’s no secret I’m a little passionate about health and fitness.

Ok, well maybe a lot.

I’m passionate about it ’cause I know how it can change lives.

I’m by no means what I consider an “expert” but through observation of the world around me and interacting with people I’ve learned that I know a lot.

I’ve learned from others who are knowledgeable ( and sane) I read and learn from reliable intelligent sources, and most of all, I’ve learned to put it all to practice on myself. I keep what works, toss what doesn’t.

I’ve learned to implement a lifestyle that’s sane, sensible, and sustainable in regards to food and exercise. ( I know.. some of you are reading this believing I am insane with some of my athletic shenanigans, but that’s ok 😉

If anyone asks, it’s what I preach to them. Why? because it’s what will stick as a lifestyle.

We are not made alike, nor are our activities alike, therefore our needs each day are going to be different. Finding the right balance is key to success for all of us to live energetic and healthy lives.

Of course if you follow me you know one of biggest pet peeves is the overwhelming amount of “health” companies vying for peoples money with grandiose promises when the buyer uses their product.

One that has shown up more frequently that I’m not familiar with promised an astounding 10lb weight loss in one week ( I want to know, the long term of that, did the weight stay gone? I seriously doubt it)

Anyway, it was sad to me to see so many people jumping at the product like a frog after flies.

“More info please!”, ” Interested!”, “Please send me info!” “How do I get it?”

On and on it went.

I was torn between feeling sorry for them that they were desperate enough to believe it and were willing to part with their money over the “two pills” a day that were supposed to work wonders, (no diet or exercise!) or feeling like they deserved what they got for buying into such utter nonsense.

A quick bit of homework on my end revealed this company had received a warning letter from the FDA regarding an ingredient in their product.

Yet people were blindly begging for it.

This always bothers me so much. People begging for help from crazy things yet unwilling to do what really needs to be done.

So I’ll keep promoting sanity. Balance. Moderation. Building new habits.

All these in turn lead to a lifestyle of health and wellness.

So I will continue to use my voice…..

I’ll keep posting  about food and good nutrition and sharing reasons why you don’t need to participate in the new modern day snake oil.

I’ll share tips and sane ideas for the normal person plugging along in a consistent manner to make permanent changes. I’ll keep posting about my crazy  athletic shenanigans and exercise ideas.

Why?

Because for every “Oh brother” and rolled eye behind the computer screen, there’s someone else getting motivated, getting up off the sofa, and heading  out the door.

There’s someone making better food choices and learning how to eat better for good health.

Someone else is making a choice to change their life. They’re getting fit and gaining energy and that is giving them a better quality of life. Their  health is improving and they are seeing results in a multitude of ways.

If one person is motivated by what I share, it’s totally worth it. If only one person decides that athletic stuff looks fun or they want a challenge and then the bug bites them, it’s worth it.

Motivation tends to breed motivation.

I still feed off of it from others. I am highly motivated but seeing how others are doing and what they are doing reminds me to keep pressing on, to stay the course, and focus on my goals.

Remember in your own life, you can be a source of motivation and encouragement to others with what you do. Your determination to get your workouts done. Your choices to eat better food. Your positive and energetic attitude. Verbally encouraging and supporting the efforts of others around you.

It makes an impact.

Use your voice. Use your life.  Make a difference.

 

 

Sweet Sleep

sleep

Sleep. Sometimes we get more of it. Sometimes we get less. Often there are things that distract us from resting peacefully. Sometimes we sleep like the dead.

We know we need it, yet we tend to burn the candle at both ends. I am more of a night owl than anything. Yet my alarm and rise time is 6’ish each morning and I know that. I’ve disciplined myself whether it’s a weekend, school is off or on, or whatever, to get up at the same time.

So when I make choices to stay up late, I understand I am eating into my rest time.

Sometimes, I don’t care 😛

Another way to understand your need for rest? Turn into an endurance athlete and you will welcome pillow time 😛  I have my deepest sleeps after long training days.

This is how I’ve learned to consider “rest and sleep” as valuable as how I eat or train. Sleep is crucial for our bodies, athlete or not. I’ve learned if I’m going to train well, I need to make sure my body has proper rest to heal and recover from what it goes through. Sleep is as important to health as eating well and getting exercise.

First of all, what IS sleep?

Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles, and reduced interactions with surroundings.

Sleep is an important part of your daily routine—you spend about one-third of your time doing it.  Quality sleep – and getting enough of it at the right times — is as essential to survival as food and water.  Without sleep you can’t form or maintain the pathways in your brain that let you learn and create new memories, and it’s harder to concentrate and respond quickly.

Stages of sleep.

There are actually two basic stages of sleep.

REM (rapid eye movement) and non-rem which has 3 stages. You cycle through all stages in a night with increasingly longer REM periods closer to morning.

Stage 1 rem sleep is the change over from wakefulness to sleep.  It is a short period of relatively light sleep.

Stage 2 non-rem sleep is a period of light sleep before entering deeper sleep. You spend more of your repeated sleep cycles in stage 2 sleep than in other sleep stages.

Stage 3 non-rem sleep is the deep sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning.  It occurs in longer periods during the first part of the night. You are so relaxed this is when it would be very difficult to wake you.

REM sleep occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep.

Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids.  Mixed frequency brain wave activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness.  Your breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels.  Most of your dreaming occurs during REM sleep, although some can also occur in non-REM sleep.  Your arm and leg muscles become temporarily paralyzed, which prevents you from acting out your dreams. ( Isn’t that freaky?! I always just thought it was a weird feeling I had)  As you age, you sleep less of your time in REM sleep.  Memory consolidation most likely requires both non-REM and REM sleep.

How much sleep do you need?

Sleep and sleep patterns change and vary as we age and there is no “magic number” of sleep that works for everyone. We are all different and have different needs and requirements. Most adults need 7-9 hours a night. A few may get by on less and do fine. Others require more.

Cutting your hours during the week thinking you can “make it up on the weekend”? No… there is no making up sleep. Try to get adequate rest during week so you don’t feel a need to make it up.

Getting good rest is vital for your overall health and wellness.

Below are a few suggestions for a good nights rest:

Set a schedule – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before going to bed.

Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day and alcoholic drinks before bed.

Avoid eating big meals.

Relax before bed – try a warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine.

Create a room for sleep – avoid bright lights and loud sounds, keep the room at a comfortable temperature, and don’t watch TV or have a computer in your bedroom.

Don’t lie in bed awake.  If you can’t get to sleep, do something else, like reading or listening to music, until you feel tired.

See a doctor if you have a problem sleeping or if you feel unusually tired during the day.  Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively.

Of course there are lots of “smart” ways people are tracking their rest time now days.  Smart phone apps, bedside monitors, and wearable devices ( like smart watches, fit bits etc)  all give us a look at how our rest time goes. I have a Garmin Vivoactive HR and for almost a year now I’ve been able to track my sleep patterns ( among a lot of other things!)  seeing my data can convict me if I feel I need more rest, or confirm that yes, I did indeed rest well last night.

Sleep is one of the essentials we all require for a healthy productive life. Make sure you are taking steps to get adequate amounts to have strong, alert, energetic days, every day.