Sunday, September 17, 2023

Choosing health - Yoga edition

There are many choices we make in life, one of which is how to best care for our physical bodies.  And once that choice becomes a priority, then there are a plethora of ways to be able to practice health.  I for one really love swimming and biking and running and occasionally playing volleyball with friends, and admittedly I am not very good at attending to the part where there is stretching involved.  That said, I do realize the necessity, and so I seek out ways to allow my body to find flexibility.  Easy enough - there are lots of yoga classes that are accessibly.  

The problem is I am not a fan of least not in the middle of practice when it is hard and I notice how NOT flexible I am.  But I am a fan of what it does for my body and my mind, and I am a fan of the deliberate practice and of learning how to be present in times that are not physically comfortable for me.  And I so very much appreciate that although I can pull up a video and do yoga in my own home, there is something about the energy in a place where we do yoga together that offers another piece to the practice.   The "work" that I do in a yoga class is for me and it is mine, but I know that the communal energy pushes me deeper into the practice, I know if I need help others are right there. I know I will make friends simply by being present.  I know that because that is also how community works.  I see it on a regular basis, I experience it on a regular basis.  

Sometimes I think it is like eating things like liver, or Kale.  I need the iron, but I am not a fan of those foods.  (I don't eat liver anymore, but that is another story)  We choose to allow ourselves to find health.  Sometimes that means that we will not always be in the moment of full pleasure.  That is a thing in the life of humanity.  Somehow we have gotten it in our heads that life is simply about creating pleasurable experiences.  But if we are choosing to be healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) there are parts of the road that are hard.

These choices are all a part of the explorations in this journey of life that we walk, more often together than alone.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

just add water

 As easy as it is to forget - human bodies are made up of 60% water.  So when we are dehydrated we may notice it in physical ways.  But being dehydrated also affects us mentally and emotionally.  Not getting enough water can be a cause of some feelings of depression or anxiety.  The chemical levels in our systems are in need of regular balance for all sorts of physical, mental and emotional health.  

Note that it is possible to drink too much water as well, so pay attention to how your bodies reacts - but in the main I think we are invited to drink up to an ounce of water each day for every pound you weigh.  

A good practice to work on for health.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Healthy Meals

 *note - I am not a nutritionist, nor do I have any background in studying nutrition, but I do have to pay attention as a mom, and an athlete, and a conscious consumer.


I know that I do my best in caring for my body when I am intentional about the things that I put IN to my body.  Every chemical and vitamin, every calorie and protein.  My body will let me know in a variety of ways if I am not consciously caring for it.  It is work, and it is at times harder than other, but I don't think it needs to be as difficult as we so often make it.

There are a variety of weigh loss plans on the market, and for many people those plans work great.  And hooray for them.  But each of us are created differently and each of us need to figure out what works best for number one.  All I can do is share a little of my learning and what I need to do...

I am at a time in my life when focusing on weight loss has become so much of a defeating climb, I have re-oriented my goals.  In the end if I lose weight I will say "wonderful" but in the main I want to FEEL good about how my body is working.  And since I am not currently training for an Ironman, nutrition needs to be a bit more on point.  Here is how I do it.  (again with the lists)

1 - Plan - make a meal plan (if I don't start here it is WAY to easy to snack and slide into whatever I can get my hands on.)

2 - Schedule - Eat at the same time(s) every day.  That helps to regulate when I need to make meals, and when I can get my workouts in.  Although times vary a little, for the most part I eat at 7:00, 1:00 and 6:00 with a morning snack at 10:00 and an afternoon snack at 4:00 as needed.  Also this helps with long workouts (anything over an hour) because then I can justify the need to have a snack in the middle of the day

3 - Veggies - eat veggies at EVERY meal.  I used to think this was just a nice way to make sure you get veggies in - but not I realize it is a vital way to MAKE SURE that I get veggies into my system.  Seriously, I am pretty sure that the percentage of people, who actually intentionally eat a rainbow of natural colors on a regular basis, is low.  Eating veggies helps me to be intentional about eating fresh local foods, and getting the nutrients into my body that I need.

4 - Protein - as a vegetarian, I have to be intentional about making sure I get enough protein.  This again is where veggies can help since there is protein in dark leafy greens and many beans (especially lentils).  I occasionally "follow" some vegan athletes but I just could never get myself to go there.

5 - Sweets - I am a sucker for sweets.  I love my sugar.  This is a tricky matter for me.  My first word was cookie.  It is a HUGE part of who I am, or who I was.  I part of me I spend my life trying to re-wire.  So I am intentionally finding ways to minimize my sugar intake.  It is HARD.  But when I have a PLAN and I know that there can be some cookies or a dessert at least occasionally, it makes it a little easier.  This is where I need the accountability of a more strict diet, and the ability to fill myself up with VEGETABLES.  Every meal, every day.

This week I again am working out a regular meal plan.  We kind of have one in my house, but when I have it written out then I can better see the places that I can fix potential holes and find ways that I can hold off sugar cravings.  

So here is what I do

7:00 a.m. athletic greens, and then 30 minutes later a cup of coffee with creamer, an egg and a handful of spinach.

1:00 p.m. sandwich on bread or rolled up in a tortilla, tofurkey and a slice of cheese and a small salad.  OR a protein shake with berries and greens.

6:00 p.m. dinner...This is the meal that varies every day, since I eat with my family and it depends on the day and the activities and whether or not we have guests...but in general we have one of the following:  pancakes, scrambled eggs, impossible burgers (vegetarian hamburgers) veggie sausages, spaghetti or ravioli and pizza.  

snacks  - on my best days I try to stick with bananas and peanut butter, but I probably slide into cookies and candy more than I like to admit.  Sometimes chips, sometimes nachos.  but if I PLAN - then I may make a little healthy shake, or cheese and crackers (which I eat significantly less of than nachos).  AND when there is a plan can more easily depend on some ability to wait.

There are weeks that we might throw a soup into the mix and/or dine out a little more.  but when we eat at home, this is about it for the creativity.  Yes, I can do better, and some weeks I do, but this is where our base level is.  

What do you do to make sure you are eating well?

Monday, September 4, 2023

RE-integrating practices

It seems to me that when you lose your edge on practices that were once common place, it is almost more difficult to re-integrate, or re-establish practices to get you back to a healthy rhythm.

Case in point - a year ago at this time I was biking 100 miles and swimming 2+ miles and running 16+ miles as I was coming to near the end of training for IM Sacramento.  This year I am lucky if I can get that much training done over the course of a week!  Although my goals have changed a bit, and my focus this year is more on letting this old body of mine heal (after a long stint of hard work and a bit of neglect).  I am now at the point of working on re-integrating healthy "normal" practices into my daily rhythms.

I regularly seek out inspiration, and hope to find some ways that I can be doing this work with others.  Here are a few items on my list

1 - Cardio work for at least 30 minutes a day.
2 - Add in Yoga/stretching and weights
3 - Healthy meals (more to come on that next week)
4 - Regular writing and work on gratitude (daily)

Where do you find inspiration for these kind of endeavors?  I hope to add some links.  And maybe by the end of the year a few reels...??? #goalsetting