Posted in about me, ebb & flow, exercise, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health, thoughtfulness

Accountability to self

Who are you doing it for?

Are you doing it to better yourself? (In what way? Why?)

Are you just trying to impress people?

When you eat junk hiding in the bathroom, or tell your people you went to the gym when you didn’t, or pretend you ran faster than you did… why?

There are a lot of things I’d like to do every day. Even with time off, I’m not doing all (or even most) of these things every day.

So I decided to make a chart. It’s on my dresser and tracks a week at a time. About me. For me.

On it, there are all of the self-care things that I need to do every day and all of the things that in theory I would do every day but realistically don’t have time for. But I could do all of them a couple of times per week.

Exercise. Stretch. Foam roll. Meditate. Work on my book. Spend time with friends. Eat produce every color of the rainbow. Sleep. (Enough.) Put stuff on the stupid plantar wart.

This just helps me to monitor, and to keep things a little more in the forefront of my mind.

There are a lot of things on there. I decided before I made it that it’s not a daily to-do list; that would just be stressful. More of a “how am I doing this week?” list.

Things change when you monitor them, and I believe this will spur change for the better. We’ll see.

I also have sweets and caffeine on there, just to keep track of my intake of those. Many (not all) of the teas I drink in the cold mornings are caffeinated, and I don’t have much issue with that. But if I have too much or drink it too consistently, then I get a withdrawal migraine when I stop. And I don’t want to drink enough caffeine to go into withdrawal.

Sweets is just to make sure that what I think I’m doing and what I’m actually doing match, and it includes all of ’em. Even if I just take a Peppermint Patty out of the candy jar at work. (Oddly, those have been tempting. No other candy is. Though I’m typically only at that school during my fasting period nowadays anyway, so it’s irrelevant.)

Nuts and bolts for copycats: I made the list, organized it, wrote it on a sheet of white-lined paper, and put it in a picture frame. You can write on/wipe off dry erase markers on glass. It’s so much nicer looking and uses less plastic.

Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mindset, physical health

You can’t outrun a bad diet

The other day, I talked about how diet and exercise aren’t opposite sides of a balance, that each has its own unique benefits to health.

Even if we’re ignoring all health ramifications beyond weight, most people are still unlikely to “win” the diet versus exercise game.

I’ve worked with a lot of people over time, both one-on-one mentoring, in classes, as well as just casual conversations, and by far, the most common reason given for not exercising is not having enough time.

If you don’t have enough time to exercise at all, how are you going to have enough time to “work off” all of the extra food?

But what about the athletes? The people who are already making time to exercise? Especially the ones who are training for endurance races and the like?

The Climbing Daddy was recently diagnosed with a fatty liver. The two most common causes of a fatty liver are too much alcohol and too much sugar.

The Climbing Daddy has also done a handful of IronMans. For those who don’t know, an IronMan is a triathlon where participants first swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 miles, then run a marathon (26.2 miles). They have 17 hours to complete it.

He happened to be wearing his finisher’s jacket at his appointment with the gastroenterologist. She had something to say about that.

“You cannot fix this even if you run three IronMan races. You have to fix your diet.”

When I gave the class at our Wellness Expo regarding sugar (recap still to be posted), there was a woman in the class who wanted a way out and asked about mitigating the effects of a high-sugar diet with exercise.

No matter how much exercise you do, your body has to process what you eat.

You can’t outrun a bad diet.

 

 

Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, physical health

Diet vs. exercise: the balance

The title is bait. They don’t balance. They’re not on opposing sides.

Exercise is not punishment for eating.

What you eat fuels you, affects your hormone balance and contributes to the maintenance and eventual regeneration of most cells. (Not all cells regenerate, and almost all body functions are controlled by hormones.)

I know a growing number of people who changed their diets (just to “healthier”—nothing extreme) and were shocked at how much more energy they had.

Yup. And it seems that until you do it, you don’t believe it, but the sugar, the highly-processed carbs, the alcohol, the fried and deep-fried—as a regular diet, they all have tangible negative effects on your body, in addition to the long-term ramifications.

Exercise stresses bones and muscles, which is a good thing! It helps them to become and stay strong. It maintains or improves cardiovascular health. It sometimes increases flexibility and/or balance (which are both important). It has profound impact on our brains, in terms of mood, of mental health, and of mental acuity. (We have better moods, better mental health, learn better, work better when we exercise regularly.)

So diet does things that exercise doesn’t, and exercise does things that diet doesn’t. Both are important.

Exercise can’t counteract all of the things that happen in our bodies when we eat a lot of junk.

Eat well. Exercise daily. You need them both.

Posted in about me, exercise, vulnerability

Discomfort and growth on fake rocks

In April, I volunteered at an event at the rock climbing gym where I’m a member.

It was a bouldering event (short walls, no ropes) which is not something that I had done at all, but there were all sorts of fun, silly climbing (taller walls, with a rope) stations as well—one-handed, an obstacle course, a route made of old (looking) metal things, a “balance the ball on the spoon” route.

I decided that I would learn to boulder so that I could participate next year.

So…they changed it up a bit and are having a series of mini-competitions—all bouldering—and if you enter three of those (no charge for members), you can automatically enter into the Big Event in April.

I was mostly still at the “can’t get off the starting holds” stage of learning.

I decided that once I could climb ONE route to the top, I was going to sign up.

Two weeks ago, I did it!

Last night was the first event after that accomplishment, and so I went.

Let me share bits of “in my head” with you about this.

As I mentioned before, I am a recovering perfectionist. I have always been good at school, but I don’t volunteer unless I’m certain to be right/successful. Failing with an audience is shameful (“I am a failure” vs. “I failed”).

I’ve been working my way out of all of that—so many missed opportunities due to fear—and this event was a GIANT step outside of the comfort zone in the direction I want to go.

(People at Shumway: riding the backwards bike was a big deal.)

Unfortunately, this event is one where you sign up the day of. (I’m a big fan of registering while enthusiasm is high and then feeling obligated when I don’t want to follow through later.)

Shortly before it was time to get changed and leave the house, I sent two friends this text:

I'm scared

(Side note: bouldering isn’t any “less real” climbing than what I usually do.)

I sent a similar one to The Climbing Daddy.

Their responses were perfect:

reply 3

(This is true. There’s never been an athletic community that I’ve been part of that hasn’t been supportive. Running, triathlon, climbing. People are happy you’re into what they’re into, and they’re happy to help. As long as you’re decently pleasant to be around.)

reply 1

(This is true. Much like the above, it’s not making a fool, it’s taking a risk. The only people who would think me a fool—if I were to run into any—are the people who are insecure in their own skills or risk-taking. And their opinion doesn’t matter…)

reply 2

(It was not that long ago that I couldn’t get off the ground—or off the starting holds. But I can now, even on routes that I can’t complete.)

So I changed clothes and went.

I talked to the guy running it and found out what to expect.

I signed up for a time.

I waited a while.

And I climbed.

I made it up the first route.

Someone I didn’t know cheered for me the second half of the route.

I didn’t make it up any more routes, though I tried two several times. (It would have been much nicer to be there by myself attempting those, instead of in a room full of people with much higher skill, but that’s just my self-consciousness.)

Also, the route that I climbed successfully is one grade harder than the one I completed a couple of weeks ago, so there’s that as well. (V.0- tonight vs. 5.8 the other day, for those who understand that.)

All in all, people were either friendly or didn’t take notice of me, both of which were fine options.

The next one is in January. Maybe I’ll make it up two routes. And not freak out before it’s time to leave.

As far as stretching my comfort zone? Mission accomplished.

Posted in ebb & flow, exercise

A Golden Age of Exercise

Exercise has been a near-constant part of my daily life since my mid-20s.

But only sometimes has it been amazing. (It’s always been good for my physical and mental health, whether I’m enjoying what I’m doing or not, whether I’m putting in as much time and energy as I’d like or not. But that doesn’t always make it something I want to do.)

I’m slipping into another era of Exercise is Astounding! Hooray!

I’ve been running a few days a week very consistently all summer, which I’m going to take a moment to pat myself on the back for. In part because running several days a week consistently takes some discipline, but people. It’s hot. I live in Phoenix.

(Yes, it’s a dry heat. But it’s still hot. My favorite part of the pic? Besides that I cracked myself up making it? The wind chill. Pic was taken after an evening run in July. So it was cooler than when I started.)

The payoff for that, besides all the usual payoffs for running several times per week for several months, is that in another month or so, I’m suddenly going to have WAY BETTER endurance. And it’s not because of me—it’s because the weather will break. And suddenly running will be easier.

Happens every fall. Well, every fall that I run through the summer.

Anyway.

Besides running, I’ve been climbing at the rock gym a couple of times per week. (I have so much more to say about climbing, but I’ll save it for another day.)

We put a pull-up bar in the house, and I’ve been working on pull-ups every day when I walk by it. (Can’t do any yet. Getting stronger, though.)

And I’m going to be training with a trainer again in a couple of weeks! I’m so excited about this! It’s been many years since I’ve had a trainer. I have loved training with a trainer every time I’ve done it and am ready for the extended soreness that comes along with sessions, especially the early ones.

There have been times when there’s been less exercise, when exercise has been more doing it because I should/need and less because I want to. But nowadays? It’s a lot more fun than work.

Where are you in that spectrum? Does the pendulum swing for you, or do you need a push? What’s your favorite way to get some exercise? Anything you’ve been toying with trying but haven’t? Here’s your sign—go try it!