Sunday, August 31, 2014

What Story are You Telling?

Bear with me, this is vaguely related to my morning run. But less about training the body, more about mind and attitude fitness.

I'm a teacher, and each year I begin with a unit on short stories so that I can ensure students have a grasp of the components of literature. My students read and even write a short story of their own. Saying that to say... stories have been on my mind a lot lately.

Every Sunday is my long run day, which lately hasn't been that long, but I digress. And every Sunday as I near my neighborhood, I pass the same two ladies. This morning the contrast was striking.

Grumpy lady is first. She always looks absolutely miserable. I always put on my biggest, happiest, most cheerful smile and say, "Good morning!" She frowns, keeps her head down and continues on her grumpy way. I pass her and scrunch up my face in a bigger frown than she was wearing.

Happy lady comes about 1/2 mile later. She always looks cheerful. Seeing her brings an enormous smile to my face. I know she is happy. I can practically feel her joy as I run towards her. I want to give her a hug and invite her to have coffee. I feel like I'm a better person for just having passed her on the street. Her cute little housecoat and slippers (EVEN in 85 degrees and 70% humidity) just make me smile. I often find myself hoping that I see her on my morning runs.

So, there it is: the power to influence people without a word. Everything about you is telling a story-- the story of you. What are you wearing? Not just your clothes. Your attitude about life, others and yourself is written on your face and carried in your body language. Each one of us has the power to impact the people around us without even saying a word.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bananas-- Not a Fan

So sorry to offend my fellow runners, but really, I'm just not a fan of the fruit. Honestly, I think it's one too many that turned brown and were left sitting on the counter.
Seriously, that picture makes me want to barf. I also really don't like banana breath. Don't know what I'm talking about? Next time you see someone eating a banana, venture closer to them. Have a conversation. Close talk. Yucko. Banana breath.

But I'm not here just to pick on bananas (true confession: slice a ripe one, freeze, throw in a food processor with some cocoa, chocolate protein powder, peanut butter and voila! Ice cream.), really I wanted to spend a few minutes explaining why it is NEVER good to eat fruit without adding some fat or protein.

It's really a long story, and I'm just a layman (NOT a dietician or nutritionist), so I will do my best to explain what I've learned through my own personal research and experience...

Eating for optimal health and fitness is not as simple as calories in and calories out. Sure a calorie is just a measure of energy, so if you eat way too many you will gain weight. However, eating too few calories doesn't necessarily mean you will lose weight. Sorry to burst your bubble. You see, your body is a complex machine. One of the factors affecting fat loss or storage is the glycemic index of food.

Foods that have a high glycemic index are quickly digested and cause a spike in blood sugar. When blood sugar rises, the body releases insulin to shuttle the sugar from the blood to the muscles where it's used. When inulin is released, the body stops burning fat and shifts into fat storage mode. (no bueno!) When the blood sugar levels drop, typically we are left feeling hungry.

Foods that have a low glycemic index are more slowly digested and cause a slower, more steady rise in blood sugar. We definitely want to avoid those nasty blood sugar spikes. In fact, new research is beginning to show that eating high glycemic foods can lead to increased risks for Alzheimer's, heart disease and obesity.

So, let me say again, I'm not just picking on bananas (yes, they have some great vitamins and minerals), I want to caution you about eating ALL high glycemic foods. I just think that way too many people believe they are doing an awesome thing for their health by eating a banana... or drinking a glass of orange juice (don't even get me started on juice!).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm Lazy

True confession time, People.

I am really very lazy. Don't be fooled by all my posts on training.

Given the choice, I want my home. Specifically, my couch. A lot of times, I really don't want to go to the weight room or get up early to run. It's why I run in the early morning. If I wait too long, I just won't go. One of my favorite days of the week is Sunday when I "reward" myself for a week of hard work by being a couch potato.

Why the true confession? Because I want you to know that you are not alone if you don't feel like working out or eating clean. We all have times when we don't want to work out. When we lack motivation.

Being healthy isn't about being perfect. There will be days when you don't want to. But do it anyway. You are in this for a lifetime, not for a week, a 30 day challenge or even until next year. It's YOUR lifetime.

I think that's what separates the average from the great ones: Doing it anyway.

So don't wait to feel like it. Do it now.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Not My Circus... (Or how to De-Stress)

I love this! I first read this Polish proverb when reading the book Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing You Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Melton. (It's an excellent book, especially if you have young children right now. Or any children right now. Or are married.) Watch the video to hear from her, or go to

Anyway... this is not so much training related as just a life in general, mental health post. I'm sitting here, trying to enjoy my last weekday off before work. Let me explain... for some teachers (I'm not saying I feel this way, I'm just saying that some might) the thought of going back to school is like getting ready to serve a life sentence standing at the edge of the highest diving board for the first time. There's a tiny bit of excitement, but it's buried so far deep under the butterflies dancing around like hippos that all a person can think about is the loss of everything good that will surely happen once that step off into the unknown is taken. Some teachers may just not want to surrender their summer freedom for the daily grind of real shoes and no gym clothes (or PJs) all day.

Let me just interrupt myself and tell you about this thing I've been doing this summer. It's called "The 30 Days of Hustle," which is the brainchild of Jon Acuff. Through Twitter (the second great source of news), I discovered this challenge to start something new and "hustle" after it for 30 days. Great stuff! Sort of a middle of the year New Years Resolution. So, all summer I've been hustling (sort of) after writing a novel, but as the sands of summer are slipping away along with my free time, I was pondering what new 30 day thing I will be hustling after. And ta--DUH: My challenge hustle (call it "hustle"-- it sounds so much cooler) for August is to stay stress-free.

Here is my plan to prevent stress...
1. Plan, but don't be married to it. I'm a planner. Planning makes me happy. Call me a nerd, but having a schedule just helps me have some peace. So, I will continue my scheduling madness, but I will also remember to be a little spontaneous, too. And if something happens to make the plan fail, I will see #5.
2. Create quiet time. Notice I said "create." I will start my day, not with social media. But on the couch, with my Bible and journal. I will spend time in quiet prayer and meditation.
3. Train. I will not surrender my training because of busyness. My major goal of qualifying as a Master's competitor in the CrossFit Regionals requires a rather large amount of time spent training. There is no "too busy" or "too tired." Eating quality, clean foods is a large component of training. I will not fall into the stress/emotional eating trap.
4. Sleep. I will also not sacrifice my 8 hours of sleep. Period. My body needs it to repair muscles and my brain needs it to recharge for the next day.
5. Remember. I will make a conscious effort to just let things go. (And NOW we are back to the top of the page.) When plans fail and things go "wrong" (not according to how I would do them), when other people do things that I don't think they should (or don't do things I think they should) I will remember... this is "Not my circus, not my monkeys." I am only responsible for me. I choose how I act, how I speak and how I feel. I will not let the actions of others cause me to be a jerk.

Dear God, please help me.