Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘health’

struggling through the news...

struggling through the news…

It was another week filled with run therapy – the news of Brooke’s brain seizures made the runs this week harder but all the more meaningful to me.  Ending Week 7 with a fantastic 12-miler with my bud JB was just what I needed!  Thank you again for all of your support this week.

Week 7:
February 12 – 3.0 miles 24:05 8:01 pace aHR 140
February 13 – 5.0 miles 37:46 7:33 pace aHR 138
February 14 – 6.0 miles 43:12 7:12 pace aHR 151
February 15 – 10.0 miles 1:17:46 7:45 pace aHR 132
February 16 – 1.0 miles 6:45 6:45 pace aHR 139
February 17 – 6.0 miles 49:14 8:12 pace aHR 134
February 18 – 12.0 miles 1:33:07 7:45 pace aHR 138 (hit 250 miles YTD on the nose)
Week 5 Total – 43.0 miles

#AutismStreaks Total – 250.0 miles (as measured by Garmin 610)

post-12-miler on Monday with my bud JB

post-12-miler on Monday with my bud JB

***

If you want to start your own #CharityStreak pick up the Charity Miles app and start raising money for your favorite charity simply by walking, running or biking:

Get the Charity Miles app:

  • Download App
  • Download App

Read Full Post »

It’s been a rough, tough couple of weeks here.  For those that don’t follow me or Jess on Facebook or Twitter, we received news earlier this week that Brooke has in fact been suffering from brain seizures.  Jess and I were, despite preparing ourselves for the possibility, completely rocked.  The news from the neurologist was followed up just hours later with more difficult news from Brooke’s neuropsych (or as Jess calls him – Dr. Dreamy).  Her verbal IQ had taken a frightening tumble over the last year, dropping her into the bottom one percentile of her peers.

Yeah…Jess and I walked out of there a complete mess.

That was Wednesday night.  Thursday went by in a complete blur.  Jess stayed home to prepare for Brooke’s team meeting at school, while I drove her around to attend to those preparations.  I just wanted to get to the end of the day and go to sleep.

Sleep didn’t help.

I woke up this morning just as distraught, just as angry, just as stressed.  So many of you have sent words of love and support and offers of connections to doctors.  Up until today, that had been my lifeline – I can’t thank you enough.  I know there are people out there who say that social media has made the world a colder, less inter-personal place, but after what you did for me and Jess Wednesday night and yesterday, I could not disagree more.  Like I said, you have been my lifeline.

But then something else happened today.  Instead of running angry as I have for the last several days, I decided to run comfortably; to purposely run at a slower, steadier pace.  I kept my pulse in the high 120’s and just glided for 5 miles before turning up the pace a little.  It was meditative, contemplative, reflective.

At the end of the run I took my usual “#AutismStreaeks Day Fill-In-Blank” photo.  The sun was behind me, which I hadn’t realized, and created a burst across my face in the photo and it struck me – even the darkest of nights must eventually give way to the sunlight.

...even the darkest night must eventually give way to the sun...

…even the darkest night must eventually give way to the sun…
#AustismStreaks Day 46

 

Brooke will get through this, as will Jess, Katie and I.

Thank you for being our sunlight.

Read Full Post »

tumblr_lka9rhi8aT1qadbq2o1_400

Tomorrow is the last day of January, the first month of 2013. Some have managed to stick to their Healthful New Year’s Resolutions while others have, well, to put it nicely, fallen off the wagon.

Here’s the cool thing – just like the change from December 31st to January 1st, tomorrow night at midnight the calendar turns once again. For those who want a “clean” beginning, February 1st offers the same “magic” that January 1st does, giving you a second chance to start again, this time hopefully learning from any mistakes you may have made over the last month.

So if you have fallen, you CAN get up, dust yourself off and try, try again.  If you stumbled and stopped running, going to the gym, eating clean, meditating daily, whatever your healthful resolution was, think about it today and tomorrow; ask yourself where you fell short and on February 1st, wake up and take back what is rightfully yours.

And if you’ve been strong and steady in your resolution, then take tomorrow to pat yourself on the back and then resolve to do it again for another month!

DO IT!

Read Full Post »

I recently saw this on Instagram:

20130101-094348.jpg

It was followed by a comment by the poster saying: lol January Joiners.

It really chapped my ass.

Listen, I do get the sentiment.  January Joiners make January difficult and frustrating for regular gym goers.  I know all too well the disappointment of getting to the gym to put some miles in on a treadmill because the weather is just awful, only to find every single one is taken.

But here’s the thing, I also find the idea of every treadmill being occupied to be a beautiful, wonderful thing.  It means that there are people, at least momentarily, wanting to make a change for the better.  The sad truth is that the vast majority of them will disappear within two weeks and the vast majority of those who remain will disappear within another two months.

Shouldn’t we be encouraging people instead of discouraging them?  Shouldn’t we be reaching out to those January Joiners, those unfamiliar faces and letting them know that they are doing a good thing, not just for themselves but for their families and friends?  Studies have shown that fitness and obesity can be contagious.  Should we not be encouraging the former?

One more healthy individual, makes society just a little better, just like one drop of rain helps fill a bucket of water.  It may not seem like a lot, but it DOES make a difference.  Imagine how much less money we as a society would have to spend on healthcare if we were able to eliminate 50% of the self-inflicted obesity related illnesses?  It’s billions of dollars back in our pockets to help drive the economy.

We should be embracing and encouraging the January Joiners, not dissing and insulting them.

If you are a regular gym goer, I hope that you will do your part to reach out and encourage those who have resolved to make a change…a simple thumbs up or a “way to go!’ as someone steps off the treadmill.  Give them a sense of pride, a sense of community, and try to remember what it was like the first time you stepped into a gym.

Read Full Post »

80924124524341504_efjRZytq_b

It’s that time of year again – New Year’s Eve.  It’s when everyone is coming down the homestretch of the Holiday Season – a time filled with plenty of food and drink, one last party and, for many, a lot of weight gain.  It’s also a time when people start to make resolution proclamations.

“I’m getting in shape this year!”

“I’m losing weight this year!”

“I’m getting into that size “fill in the blank” this year!”

And the masses then join a gym or buy some running shoes or “go on a diet”, all of which lasts a week, maybe three, and then it’s back to the same old same old.  By the time April or May rolls around, shoulders are shrugged and thoughts turn to “maybe next year.”

So what’s the problem?  And what, more importantly is the solution?  The problem is simpler than you might think.  The problem is not that people lack motivation, it’s that they lack education and guidance.

Saying

“I’m getting in shape this year!”

“I’m losing weight this year!”

or even

 “I’m getting into that size “fill in the blank” this year!”

doesn’t give you a well-defined goal, not even the more specific third one, because all of these goals are unspecific on how you want to get there.

The question anyone who is making a fitness New Year’s Resolution should be asking themselves really is, “what is my goal?  what is it that I truly want to achieve in terms of fitness/weight loss?”

“I want to get in shape” can mean so many things – what kind of shape?  at what cost?  The same can be said about “losing weight”.  There are all kinds of ways to lose weight, some are long-lasting healthful methods, some are…well, not.  Both can get one to a goal of losing weight and/or getting “in shape”; one can get you there rapidly, the other can get you there and keep you there indefinitely.

Once you’ve defined what it is you are actually trying to achieve, the next question becomes are you willing to change.  If you are trying to alter your physical make up for the better, undoubtedly, you will need to change some habits, and change can be hard.

That’s where it all falls apart every year for the majority of people.  An unfortunate result of our on-demand society is that we have become more and more a people who demand results immediately.  We then assume that if we don’t get the results we want immediately, that whatever we are trying must not work or must not work for us.

We start to make excuses –

oh, I’m just not shaped like that. 

oh, I’m big-boned. 

oh, I tried that and it just doesn’t work for me.

oh, it was uncomfortable.

Really?

Well, to be honest, for a small percentage of the population, that is true, HOWEVER, the overwhelming majority of people who use these excuses are simply unwilling to put in the time to change and they think, incorrectly, the excuses will make them feel better.  Now, before you jump on me for calling people lazy, please go back and note I wrote unwilling, not lazy.  Change takes sacrifice and sometimes people are unwilling to make certain sacrifices to achieve change – and that’s okay.  BUT, you have to realize that a choice has been made not to change.  Owning this choice instead of making excuses goes a long way toward inner peace and happiness.  If you can’t commit to change, then enjoy where you are and embrace it.  Mental health and inner peace is just as important as physical health/fitness.

Here’s the bottom line – hard work pays off; consistency pays off; a healthful diet pays off.  You put those three things together and your results are guaranteed.  For some, those results begin to appear on the scale and in the mirror within a week; for others, the visible changes don’t appear for a month or two, but something to realize is that the moment you make a change for the better, good things are happening inside you…immediately.

So is this the year?  Where to start?

The first thing I tell people is to start tracking what they are consuming.
You would be amazed just how much you actually consume throughout the day without thinking about it.  The mere action of tracking, truly committing to tracking you intake, will make you think twice about the variety of snacks that may cross your lips.

There are quite a few food tracking apps, but the two I found easiest to use are:

My Fitness Pal:

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

and Lose It!

http://www.loseit.com/

The thing I like about their apps over others is that they are user-friendly, allow you to enter recipes and create meals, and have access to bar code scanning for easy input.  The apps also allows you to set weight loss goals over a period of time.  The apps though should be used as a guideline, not treated as gospel.  Once a week it’s a good idea to eat whatever the mouth and stomach desire.  One can’t live in a perpetual state of denial (meaning denying yourself “goodies and treats” – a topic for another post) without eventually feeling bitter.  The 90/10 rule works pretty well for most – for every 9 healthful meals, eat & drink something ridiculous!

The second thing I tell people is that they must perform regular physical activity.
This can come in many forms.  I have always found running to be the most affective, particularly for achieving physical fitness while pursuing weight loss, but physical activity can include swimming, biking, taking the stairs instead of taking an elevator, walking, even enjoying the company of your spouse or significant other (I know people get squeamish talking about sex, but it should be noted that a 150 lb person having sex for 15 minutes burns almost 75 calories – that’s nearly 300 calories per hour or the equivalent of a brisk walk or a 10 mph bike ride, but more fun).  The point is, there are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily life.

For those short on time, I did a little experiment this Holiday season.  Some of you may have heard of Tabata – it’s a method of exercise where you do a full body exercise for 20 seconds at 100% followed by 10 seconds of rest.  You repeat this cycle 7 more time, completing the exercise in 4 minutes.  It is intense and if you do it right, you pretty much want to throw up at the end of it.  It is effective, but it is not fun.  So doing a little research I came across HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  It’s actually been around a while, but I was so into my running I had not really checked it out.  The concept is to perform high intensity full body actions for a short interval, followed by a shorter interval of rest – it is similar to Tabata but not quite as intense.  Right before Thanksgiving, I decided to see if this kind of quick hit training could make a difference.  I chose to use the burpee as my full body movement of choice.  If you don’t know what a burpee is, click —>>>HERE<<<—.

I did five sets of 28 burpees with one minute of rest between sets.  Within each set I would do a 7-7-7-7  routine to mix up different kinds of burpee variations.  For those counting, that’s 140 burpees.  I was able to complete the routine in less than 15 minutes.  I did this 3 times a week and I purposely did not run during that stretch except on Thanksgiving (had to do a Turkey Trot – 3.1 miles) and on my birthday (ran 4.3 miles for 43 years).  That’s a total of 7.4 miles from November 22 to December 31 – essentially a non-factor.  So what were the results?  Despite eating my share of holiday food, less than 45 minutes of work a week allowed me to actually drop 4 pounds and lose a small percentage of body fat.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens when I bring running back into my routine tomorrow.

The third thing I tell people is get some proper sleep.
Sleep is when the body resets itself.  It’s when it heals.  A solid 6 – 9 hours of sleep is absolutely necessary for achieving good health.

Finally, I tell people to stick with it.
It’s hard when you don’t see immediate results.  I get that.  What I try to remind people is that change IS happening.  Slow change is more permanent, because your body and your mind are getting into habits that will stick.  Stay the course, believe in the program and you WILL be rewarded.

So is this your year?  Do you have a specific goal?  If you really want to change, make it a priority and stick with it until the end of March.  This is a trick of sorts though, because if you DO stick with a regular routine until the end of March, you won’t stop because the routine will have taken over.

Good luck with your 2013 health and fitness goals!

Read Full Post »

So I keep hearing these commercials on the radio for special pills that will guarantee you lose “up to” 30 pounds in 12 weeks.  2 1/2 pound a week if you take their pill daily.  Just take their pill…it’s guaranteed.

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it?

Sounds easy don’t it?

Sounds too good to be true, right?

BECAUSE IT IS!!!

What is easy to miss while being mesmerized by the ad is that as a woman, you need to follow a strict diet of less than 1350 calories per day.

Guess what happens if you eat only 1350 calories per day (aside from being somewhat hungry)…you lose a little over a pound a week!  If you throw in a little exercise, you lose even more!

This is kind of like Mitt Romney saying his economic plan promises 12 million new jobs over the next four years…guess what?  Most independent economists say that 12 million jobs will be added back to the labor force no matter WHO is elected President.

…but I digress.

The bottom line is that smart, healthy weight loss must come at a price, and that price is a little sweat and a lot of discipline.  If you starve yourself in order to lose weight three things will happen:

  1. •You’ll be hungry.
  2. •You’ll slow your metabolism down which means you will burn calories at a progressively slower rate.
  3. •You’ll gain the weight back and more when you go back to eating the portions you ate before because of #2.

So what is one to do if not create a caloric deficit?

Here’s the thing – you DO want to create a deficit.  Although it is more complex than simply calories in vs. calories out, the basic principle holds true.  The key is to create the deficit while not starving oneself and slowing down the metabolism.

How?  There are three keys:

  1. •Proper diet – not a diet in the “I’m on a diet” sense, but rather an approach to food that gives you nourishment while making your body work to digest and absorb its nutrients – unprocessed and unrefined foods, lots of veggies and fruits, plenty of fiber.
  2. •Physical Activity – you don’t have to be a gym rat or a running fool (like me) to boost your metabolism through exercise.  Walking, jogging, biking, playing tag with your kids, dancing with your partner…60 minutes a day of some sort of activity is all it takes.  You can even break it down into 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, etc – get creative.
  3. •Sleep – this is often the ignored part of maintaining a higher metabolism and optimal health.  Believe it or not, 7 – 9 hours of sleep a day is a great way to burn fat.  There’s a lot of science that I won’t get into here, but the bottom line is that getting the required amount of sleep not only promotes fat loss while you are sleeping, but helps you avoid snacking on junkfood in the afternoon when you start to fade.

Don’t waste your money on the magic pills.  Their effect, in my opinion, is more placebo than any magic ingredient that gets your metabolism flying – and those that do?  Be careful about just what those ingredients are doing to your system.  1350 calories a day isn’t much. 1200 calories is the minimal amount of calories a bed-ridden woman needs simply to survive.  You get the picture?

Eat well, move 60 minutes a day and get some sleep.  Try it for a few weeks and see what happens.

Read Full Post »

“…over the next two decades, 13 states could have [obesity] rates above 60 percent and 39 states could have rates above 50 percent. Mississippi is on pace to have the highest obesity rate at 66.7 percent…”
-September 18, 2012|By Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune reporter

I posted the article this quote is from yesterday on my Facebook page. I said something along the lines that I found these numbers to be incredible, as in unbelievable, as in it simply isn’t possible. Yet there they were. We are on track to having a quarter of our States with a large majority of their population obese, not just overweight mind you, obese; and nearly 80% of our States with a majority of their population obese. Two-thirds of the population of Mississippi on their way to a twilight riddled with preventable disease.  The most frightening part? Colorado would come in as the most fit State in the Nation…with a 45% obesity rate. FORTY-FIVE PERCENT!!!

Despite what appears to be heightened awareness, the vast majority continue to live in denial…

This is insane!

In response to this flabbergasting news, I hear a lot of people talk about government mandates – having the government take over what we eat or drink a la Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to rid New York City of over-sized sugary drinks. Part of me wants to jump on that bandwagon. If people aren’t smart enough to take care of themselves, well then someone has to take care of them, right?

Wrong.

Although the government should take on some role, maybe from an educational position, or, a bit more radically, making healthy choices available in areas of low access, no amount of government intervention will correct the problem until we, the people, decide we want to make a change.

If there is one thing I have learned over the last few years of being asked for and then giving advice for healthy change, it’s that until a person is ready and willing to change, it ain’t gonna happen.  Too many people want instant change; transformation in a bottle; abs and buns of steel in a pill.  It takes work – not just at the gym, but in the choices of the fuel we choose, and if we ain’t ready and willing, change ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we are shortening our lives, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you we’re increasing our cost of health care, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we are killing our sex drive, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we might not be able to stand at our child’s graduation, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we might not be able to dance at our daughter’s or son’s wedding, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that we might get diabetes or cancer or suffer from heart disease, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I can tell you that due to our obesity we could lose a foot or a leg, but if we aren’t ready and willing, it ain’t gonna happen.

I could tell you that we are setting OUR children up to follow in our footsteps…

***

***

***

…does that at least stop you for a moment? Does that make you think, maybe, just maybe, this report doesn’t have to be true? That we don’t have to condemn our children to a life of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and amputations? Is that what we want to leave our children? Is that what we want to be our legacy?

I know I don’t.

The habits our children pick up from birth to 18 come primarily from us, and once those habits are programmed into their brains, they are very, very difficult to break. Does that mean there’s no hope for a 30 year old woman with a lifetime of bad habits?

Heavens no!

But it is way more difficult for her than if she had been brought up with good habits all her life.

Change is hard, but it’s easier for our kids – and once those good habits are learned, the foundation of healthful living is set.

Do you know where it starts?

It starts with us. Yes, the government can help set some standards; they can do what they have to do to make healthier choices available to us; they can help educate the population about healthful eating; but in the end, it comes down to you and me.

Yes…us.

Just like every vote counts in an election, what WE choose to do over the next 20 years, 10 years, 5 years, 12 months, 6 months, 4 weeks, 7 days, 24 hours, 60 minutes, 60 seconds, can make a difference.

Nothing sets a better example for our children than our own behavior.

Nothing, NOTHING, convinces a company to change their ways better than our wallet.

Are you ready and willing?

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: