Category Archives: mindfulness

Whole Life Challenge I

I rode the course for the World Road Cycling Championships on Saturday. 166 km. Lots of hills. Very cool to be following the “men’s elite course!”

Getting there (2.5 hrs away from home) and getting started by 8 a.m kept my attention. I had breakfast at the hotel, which offered little fresh food. So I decided today would be a zero for food. I could have planned a paleo recovery meal, but had fries instead and had a cafe latte after dinner without thinking about the WLC until after it arrived. I ate enough gel on the ride today that I never want to eat anything sweet ever again. But I made the rest of the day’s points. Stretched after 100 miles of cycling, and remembered the fish oil first thing in the morning.

new habits, one at a time.

Success starts with planning. What is the goal? (good health). What is the action (daily dose of fish oil). Do I have what I need to get started? Yes. When? After dinner. So why wait to begin? The WLC will be easier if I am already engaged in the various daily actions.

I decided to resume taking fish oil last night. I have a couple bottles of “The Zone” brand Omega RX EPA/DHA liquid concentrate. (The liquid is less expensive than the capsules, but capsules travel better.) I store the bottle in this nice coffee mug. It’s probably a violation of Royal Protocol.

The recommended dose is 1 tsp. I have a little shot glass for measuring. A couple years ago, I took a higher dose regularly. At the time, I was having a lot of joint pain and was training heavily for a half ironman triathlon. Things are different now. The joint pain is gone and my training load is much lower. My c-reactive protein level is very low (I got a blood test after feeling freaked out by the books I was reading – my cortisol level was fine too). So I will stick with the 1 tsp. dose. When I was taking more, I got a spontaneous nosebleed and asked Dr Google, who said, yes, high doses of fish oil act as blood thinners and can cause nosebleeds. Powerful stuff.

While at the store today (stocking up on maxifuel gels for the Limburg ride Saturday), I yielded to the impulse to buy some “Royal Green” brand algae oil. Also labeled as Huile d’algue and Algenolie (French and Dutch, of course). These capsules have 200 mg of DHA. The Zone liquid has 900 mg per tsp/5 ml. I’ll need to go back and read the WLC directions to see what they recommend. Then I’ll think for myself. You should too.

I have also decided to keep in mind the bigger picture. I came across a lovely young woman who is writing about her cancer treatment, which began a week ago. Her suffering breaks my heart wide open. I can choose my food intentionally, move my healthy body happily, and keep moving forward. It might be a challenge (thus the name), but I’m up to it.

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exercise can be habit-forming

I’ve started and stopped exercising so many times in the past that sometimes I wonder how I managed to change into the person I am now. I struggled and felt guilty. I paid lots and lots of gym dues and never went. But I got tired of being tired. And worked through the pain and resistance of beginning again. Now I do something – actually lots of things – every day. So the Whole Life Challenge awards one point for Workout and one point for Mobilization. The Workout is at least 10 minutes of “active recovery” [intentional movement]. I got that covered. I usually ride my bike to work. Lately, I’ve been riding extra, in order to accompany my son to school I also walk my dog every night. And lift, swim, run, row, … you get the picture. My challenge will be to start a new habit of daily Mobilization. More on that in a moment.

If you aren’t actively moving yet, and you need some strategies, here are mine for Getting It Done – whatever you choose “It” to be:

Find a workout buddy: I go for a run or a bike ride with friends – we set up the details in advance (where, when, how long), and this makes sure I show up (because the other person is going to show up) (this helps a lot when the weather isn’t great and I don’t “Feel” like it).

Do something fun: I pick activities I really enjoy and look forward to – for example, at my gym, I usually train with a trainer who I like, so it’s a fun-hard workout, and I “reward” myself with 10 minutes in the sauna afterwards. I also like being outdoors, so I do a lot outside in nature. I also like climbing, but I live in a flat country. So I go to indoor sport climbing.

Take a class: having a specific time/place/activity picked out on your calendar where you are with others might help you get there. I registered my family for a month of climbing lessons on Monday nights. Without the class, I doubt we’d muster the energy to go to the wall at 8 PM. Knowing the instructor will be waiting for us makes us hustle to be on time.

Make an appointment: I schedule my gym visits at the same time each week (most of the time) and that cuts way down on “skips.” If it’s tuesday @ 11, it must be time to go to the gym – the decision has already been made. this makes it easier, since I don’t have to use up willpower.

Set a Goal: I use upcoming events that I enjoy to keep me motivated over the long term.

Be safe: I rest enough before going back to the gym for more – and try to train in zones that add to my fitness rather than break me down. When I was trying to get in the habit of exercising, I would do way too much on the first day, feel awful the next day, and not go back for several months.

Remember the reason why: I remind myself I always feel better afterwards, and that my health is as important (if not more important) than whatever thing I have to stop in order to keep my appointment with myself to exercise. When I am really resisting it, I tell myself, okay, you can stop after 10 minutes. This is particularly useful when I don’t feel good and think “I need a rest day” – usually, I just need to get moving and I feel better. I don’t think I have ever actually quit after starting. the hardest part sometimes is getting my shoes on.

Always be prepared: I have my gym bag packed and ready to go. There are no excuses when I am rushing out of the house in the morning. I also have a swim bag and a climbing bag – nothing fancy. They just keep my stuff organized so I don’t waste precious time looking for what I need to get out the door.

So, now about this new habit I have to form. Mobilization – daily stretching. I am going to have to answer the “W” questions to succeed at this. The W questions – what, when, where. There are some reminder apps I have used when I want to remember to do something new. You might try Habit Forge or Rootein. I also like Astrid – a to-do App that can schedule repeating tasks. I found though that if I set too many reminders, I ignore them all.

What’s your plan? The body you have today reflects the choices you made yesterday. It’s up to you.

Whole Life Challenge

On 15 September, the Whole Life Challenge starts. I joined up to give myself a leg-up. Left to my own devices, I succumb to my habitual way of eating. I’d really like to see whether cutting dairy and grain from my diet catapults me into Nirvana.

So this challenge features rules, points, and cheerleaders. I figure public shaming might help me. I mean, after all, I have this blog. I was writing a lot and regularly, and then got busy. And now it — meaning the blog — needs redecorating.

So here’s the thing. I’ll write about the challenge here. If you’re trying to make some changes in what you feed yourself, you’re welcome to join me. Misery loves company. Strength in numbers. Or something like that.

And check back. I am writing this on the iPad, which isn’t going to let me save a draft so I can find the links I want to add before I send it out on wings.

29 jan

My how time flies. I get it in my mind to write something inspiring every day, and then my busy life takes over. Paleo January has been terrific. I feel great. But I might have mentioned that I want to get down to racing weight before training begins.

Looking at “Free Range” Paleo (e.g., eating to my appetite), I maintained my weight quite well. However, the goal is to lean out. So I calculated my BMR and base activity level and came up with a paltry 1700 calories as maintenance level. Less than I like to eat.

For the last week, I’ve been targeting between 1400 & 1600 calories, and I have mostly met hit the target. I’ve trained as usual, with enough energy. The result has been agreeable drop on the scale. Press on.

I’ve also been using “Well Fed” to make hot plates for lunch every day. Shop Saturday and prep Sunday. This week I made up portions to fit my plan. My son likes these lunches so much he asked for some on his long school days. With pleasure!

Did you have any new year’s resolutions? Can you remember them? It’s never to late to jump in and get started on them again.