Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Christ Walk: Eating Like Marathoner Will Make You Fat...

Christ Walk: Eating Like Marathoner Will Make You Fat...: ...That is, if you are not a marathoner. If you have been following the blog, you know that I have just come off a training plan for a hal...

Eating Like Marathoner Will Make You Fat...

...That is, if you are not a marathoner.

If you have been following the blog, you know that I have just come off a training plan for a half marathon. Despite having mixed feelings about running and becoming a runner, I continue to do so.  Mostly, I like the cardio burn I get from running and it keeps me fit for the things I really do enjoy: Hiking, Climbing, Snow-shoeing, Sailing, Kayaking.  My long-term dream of hiking Mount Kilimanjaro motivates me to stick with my running and fitness plan.  While I may have tabled the long-distance running for the short term, I found I forgot to table the caloric intake as well.

This will make me fat.

If you eat like you are running 20+ miles a week, you better be running or doing some other type of endurance training to burn it off.  Distance Runners take in a lot of calories to have the fuel their bodies need to go the distance.  So when I was on my training plan, my calorie intake went up to continue to fuel me on my long runs.  I was also able to enjoy some of my food indulgences without the guilt or consequences because I was running so much.  When you come off a long-distance training plan, your nutritional intake will need to be modified.

Unfortunately, I've continued to eat like I am running distance, when in all honesty, I am running about 8-12 miles a week.  That's not enough to offset eating like a fuel burner and I can tell.  My pants are getting tight. Boo-hiss!  I've been a little cocky enjoying my indulgences thinking my body is going to burn them off.  This is not the case when I am not maintaining the level of cardio-endurance I was on previously.  It's time to change.

As a result, I am slowly becoming more mindful (again) of the food choices I am making in light of the change in my fitness plan.  This is all normal.  Fitness levels vary depending on life and schedules and seasons.  As long as you are mindful (and honest) about what you are doing, you can maintain your weight and fitness levels even with these changes in your routine.

I think with any season in life, it is important to be aware, mindful, and conscious of the choices you are making. Everything we do revolves around the choices we make in life.  Just like throwing a pebble into a pond makes ripples that spreads outward and effects things under the surface that we cannot see, the choices we make are the pebble in our mind, body and spiritual life.  It's your choice whether you throw that pebble or not.  If you choose to continue to eat like a marathoner, when you are not, there will be long term impacts on your body and your weight.

It's my choice what I put in my mouth or if I go out and exercise, or if I take the time to pray in my hectic life.

These are my pebbles.  I have no desire to be overweight again.  I'm choosing to change my habits because my routine changed.  Alas, that means no more mid-afternoon brownies....:)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I have come to realize that when I set goals for my health and spirituality that it all comes down to the choices I make. At then end of the day, the only person in charge of where I end up in life is me and the choices I make. God is not holding my feet to the fire, to live a Christian life. This is my choice. No one is telling me I must live a healthy life. This is my choice. No one will make me a better/different/more spiritual person, if I do not choose to make those changes in myself. 

Which leads me to the If/Then principle of meeting my goals: 

IF I choose to have the double Dutch ice cream with whip cream on top, THEN I will then to go for a walk after dinner. 

IF I choose to sleep in, THEN I will need to reorganize my day to squeeze in a run. 

IF I choose to order an appetizer in addition to my meal, THEN I will need to forego dessert and perhaps a drink. 

IF I choose to be angry about a situation (instead of dealing with it--hey, even I enjoy a good snit sometimes), THEN I will need to figure out a way to deal with the damage my anger caused. 

IF I choose to watch TV on the couch tonight, THEN I will need to write my blog during the day.

IF I choose to skip church, THEN I will need  to study my bible independently so that active spirituality remains a part of my discipline. 

IF I choose to drink, THEN I won't be driving. 

IF I choose to eat fake food, THEN my joints will hurt. 

IF I choose to sin, THEN I will need to repent and ask for forgiveness. 

IF I choose to cut out a mile from my long run, THEN I won't get faster/stronger or run more efficiently or with greater endurance because I have skipped out on my plan. 

IF I choose NOT to live a healthy life, THEN my health risk factors become greater, and I may become a physical and financial burden to my family. 

IF I choose NOT to live a spiritually disciplined life, THEN I make all sorts of bad decisions. 

IF I choose to believe that Jesus did not die for my sins, THEN I have no opportunity to be redeemed. 

IF I choose NOT to seek a relationship with God, THEN God cries.

Some of these examples are trade offs. I don't think a physically healthy life is devoid of chocolate or ice cream or other indulgences. These things delight the senses and bring joyful moments, especially when shared with others. Joy is delightful to God. But there are also consequences to those choices that require a trade off in order to have the sort of long term life I seek.  

Ultimately, I am looking at my life in the full scope of it's entirety, not just the passing of a moment of time. Each of those small moments and choices add up to the full breadth of who I am and whom I will be through my lifetime. In the grand scheme of things, I really want to try to make more good choices than bad ones. 

IF I try, THEN I have given my best.  IF I give my heart, THEN there will also be my treasure.  IF I look, THEN I will find the kingdom of heaven. 

IF I do nothing, THEN there will also be nothing. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Baby It's Hot Outside!

The temps are rising as summer settles across America.  I am stoked.  I love the heat.  I love sunshine.  I love everything about summer.  I am one of those crazy people that will get in my car, turn OFF the air conditioning and just let the heat soak into my bones.  It feels so good.  I am sure this is related to underlying arthritis and joint issues, but I also know that heat just feels good to me.  You will rarely hear me complain about being hot. 

There is one exception:  I feel the heat when I run.  Running in the heat will suck the life out of me.  I have found that I need to be prepared to adjust my schedule for the heat and summer vacation in general in order to get in my daily “Christ Walk.”  As summer approaches, you will also need to practice a little “Semper Gumby” (always flexible) in order to meet your summer fitness goals.

First off, I have had to move my exercise time from my lunch break to before work starts.  This way, I am avoiding the peak in temperatures outside and my husband can stay at home with the kids now that school is out.  It’s nice that I get my exercise out of the way first thing, but it’s also taken an adjustment in my sleep schedule to wake up an hour earlier.  On the days I cannot get outside the door, I will incorporate an indoor workout, bike with the kids, or hit the treadmill as alternatives to the norm.  I have joined several summer fitness challenges that hold me accountable to being physically active on a daily basis.  Where possible, I try and do those activities with my kids so that we are all being active throughout the summer and spending active time together.  The pool, the waterpark,  parks, and scooters all provide opportunities for us to get in more steps to our day that count as physical activity.  Am I training for a big race around this heat or with my kids at home?  No.  I’ve had to alter my expectations with this seasonal change, but I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to do something different.  When we challenge our bodies to do something different with exercise, we often excel in our traditional chosen sport because we have utilized new muscles in new ways.

With all this activity and sunshine comes the potential for dehydration and sun exposure.  The nurse (and mom) in me feels the need to remind you to slather up or cover up when you are out during peak sunlight hours. Nothing is worse than starting your summer off with a burn.  I can attest you should also NOT trust your children to cover your back adequately with sunscreen.  I had a nice strip of red down my back thanks to my daughters “efforts” after a day at the pool with the kids.  We had a great time, but the burn was a bummer.

The final key to success with your exercise during the summer is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Your body needs that water and fluid when you are sweating more.  If you’ve gone out for an intense run, walk, sport, or other endurance event, you are going to need to replenish your body of its fluids.  Feel a headache coming on?  You might need more fluid than you expect.  A headache is a sure sign that you should look at your fluid balance.  You may also need to replace the electrolytes you lost through sweat.  Sometimes, even if we are drinking a lot of water after activity, but not replacing the electrolytes, we may be making the headache worse.  Drinking too much water without replacing the salts in your bodies just dilutes those existing electrolytes further and this can make a bad headache worse.

Since I like to avoid high fructose corn syrup and I try to use as many natural products as I can, I like to use Nuun tablets as an alternative to Gatorade or Powerade.  The Nuun tables replenish me on a run without tearing up my tummy.  Eating bananas and applesauce and and 100% fruit juices will work as well.  You don’t have to dump a bunch of chemicals into your body this summer—God gave us plenty of alternatives from natural sources to replace what we have lost.

So enjoy the sun God gave us.  Get out there and exercise and be active.  Join a summer fitness challenge and don’t let the heat keep you inside.  Soak the sun up (and the Vitamin D) so that you are filled with summer goodness through the upcoming fall and winter.  Life is a cycle.  We can adjust our schedules to make sure we take care of those things that are important to us no matter the season.