Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Celebrate your Successes

I find that most people can easily name a few  many things that are wrong with their body, their relationships, their career, their life... But, ask them to list something good about themselves and they clam up. As a society, we don't congratulate ourselves often enough on what we are doing RIGHT. Consider your last workout. When you were done, did you say out loud, "Wow, that was rough but I did it! I am awesome!" If you didn't, perhaps you should.

Determining your progression over a longer period of time is much easier when you take stock of your efforts as well as your accomplishments. For example, let's take my friend. She had been running for about 6 months. She hadn't lost all the weight she had been hoping to lose in that time period and was feeling down about it. So, the two of us sat down and put together a list of accomplishments. In the past few months, she had gone from a 35 minute 5K to a little under 32 minutes - that is one minute per mile - HUGE! She used to get  winded at one mile and is now running 5-6 miles with ease. She has been more easily able to handle stress.  Her confidence level has risen and as a result, she has gotten a job promotion. She, in my opinion, is a different person. And after seeing the list, she believes that too.

So, here's your homework (What?! It's back to school season, isn't it?)... Sit down and make a list of the things YOU have accomplished over the course of the past year, month, week, day, hour, whatever. Then, reflect on those and be proud of the person you are right now. If your list is short or you see room for improvement, make another list but this time of positive changes you'd like to make. And, please take the time to congratulate yourself on the great things you do - You are worth it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Find your inner peace. 

Last week, my family and I traveled to Ohio to our vacation at Catholic Familyland. During that time, I had the opportunity to spent some much needed time with the Lord. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be difficult to find a stretch of unused moments to thank Him, praise Him, glorify Him. This special week gave us plenty of time for some soul searching as well as providing many family and faith based activities for us.

On one of my morning runs, I was praying for and about many things: money issues, health, a sticky situation with some girls on a message board I frequent, my friends and family who are hurting in any way, and for myself, that I could find some inner peace.

As I ran, I came to a realization. I know that running is good for my heart. Aerobic exercise, which keeps my heart rate at an elevated level, is doing a great benefit for my cardiovascular system. I've been running for nearly 4 years now and during that time, all those hours I have spent on the roads, track, and treadmill have helped my physical health in a major way.

In Psalms, there is a verse that says "I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."  I interpret this to mean that when my lifestyle is consistent with with God's law, I cannot be held back from achieving great success. Deep in my heart, there was a freedom that was longing to get out. And I have decided to let it out. I want to run in the path set out by God in the Bible.

Like I said before, physical exercise benefits the heart but the spiritual exercise of following God's commandments has even bigger benefits. From this point on, Jesus will be my new running partner. I believe this will give me that inner peace that I have been desiring. Through the years, I have included God in most aspects of my life but not really in my running. It's time to give in and do it.

Not everyone who reads my posts is a Christian. I am not setting out to change who you are or what you believe. My point is that there *is* a way to find inner peace and you need to figure out a way to get it. Seriously folks, this feels amazing.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Exercise: It's not all or nothing. 

I have this friend who checks in with me every so often to do one of two things:

a. boast about how well she is doing with her weight loss

b. complain because she is a mess and will never lose any weight ever for her entire life and her world is falling apart and life isn't fair. It isn't, y'know, she looks at a cheeseburger and gets fat and it's just not right that other women can lose so much more easily than her and if she hadn't been sick last week or had that mysterious pain in her back, she would have gotten more done and why did her kids have to be so needy because it really took away from her workout time and life just is not fair and... it goes on and on and on... and on and on and on....

What she doesn't seem to realize, despite my repeated urging is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Living with a rigid diet and exercise routine is not something most people can maintain forever, and setting a daunting goal is only going to serve to frustrate you.  You have to walk before you can run and crawl before you can walk.

Each day, just stick something on your calendar that will get your blood pumping. It doesn't have to be hours upon hours spent at the gym; it can be as simple as playing basketball with your kids, taking a walk with a neighbor, or doing some weeding in your garden. Unintentional exercise counts just like intentional exercise does. It's all about movement and giving your body enough good for you food to keep you moving but not so much that you are overfull and sluggish. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Food is fuel for your body, not the enemy.

When you are ready, start adding in some intentional exercise. Head to the gym, even if you don't feel like it, and promise yourself  that you will complete 5 minutes of a workout. If after 5 minutes, you don't feel like continuing, go home. Almost without exception, once you have that first five minutes in, your body says "Hey, I can handle this, let's keep going..." 

This technique will work much better than starting off with a 6 days a week routine. And, if you can find something you love to do, you'll be even more apt to keep it up. And if when you get derailed, start over. Stop complaining about why you got off track. Just move forward.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I gotta be honest...

I need accountability. During the last 4 weeks, I have started marathon training. Along with that, I have stopped measuring my food and worrying about what I was putting in my body. I just *try* to be healthy. Sounds all good, right? Not so much.

Two different times in the past week-ish, I have gone waaaaaaaay overboard on my food consumption. I have gone from the table to the pantry, mindlessly eating granola bars, crackers and cheese, cereal, and a lot of other processed foods junk. Clearly, once I get started, I can't stop. Or maybe it's that I don't want to stop. Either way. I can feel myself slipping into the "I'm marathon training; I can eat whatever I want" mentality.

I am asking all of my readers to provide me with some accountability. I will do the same for you, if you'd like. I write a blog titled "Running for Cupcakes" where I am keeping a journal of my food while training as well treating myself to one cupcake a week, after a long run. I plan to review the bakery as well as the cupcake after each visit. If you look back on the pages, you'll notice 2 days where there is no food listed. That's because I was too embarrassed to showcase my pig-out. From this point on though, I promise to post the good, the bad and the ugly of it all. No more hiding. No more excuses.

Does anyone else food journal? Clearly, that is what works for me. Back to it....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Find your Inner Peppy Patty.

I am not feeling 100% today and my Tuesday's Tip brain is in a bit of a fog, so let's revisit one of my older blog posts today. The majority of my readers started following me after this post. Enjoy!