183.5 miles in 60 days

Yesterday I hit a milestone for the year.  I have completed 3 miles a day for 60 consecutive days!  There has been some jogging in there, but mostly walking.

My Garmin daily step goal is set to 6K because that’s the average number it takes to reach 3 miles.  Of course, I’ve gotten more than that every day.  I would estimate I’ve averaged about 9-10K a day since the start of the year.

As a result, Garmin awarded me the “60-day Goal Getter badge” – woohoo!  This is the second time I’ve earned this repeatable badge.

It’s doubly cool to hit it on a Leap Day and earn the limited Garmin “Take the Leap” badge as well.

Yes, it seems silly for a grown woman to be excited about “virtual” rewards, but the 60 day badge represents so much more than a “steps goal” to me.

I cannot tell you how many days I’ve dreaded showing up for those 3 miles.  There have been some really difficult days that involved some serious pain.  One such day was the hike I embarked on during a snowstorm.  It took me almost 2 hours to complete the three miles because I was wading through calf deep snow.

I’ve been worried that once I hit this mark, I’ll take a day off.  The thought of going for another straight 60 days is a little overwhelming.  Plus, the weather has been a huge obstacle.  It’s only March 1st.  We here in the Colorado Rockies have a couple more months of this at least.

So, it’s obvious I need to focus on today only.  Can I muster up enough to just get it done today and not worry about the next sixty days?  In the wise words of The Little Engine that Could, “I think I can.”

Until tomorrow, I pray you’ll join me in heeding God’s words to not worry about tomorrow, but to focus on dealing with today.

*the mileage in the title only represents the daily “workout” mileage totals and not overall steps (which would be far more than 183.5 miles).

is it still called breakfast at noon?

I’ve been trying to motivate myself to get back on track with eating better since I fell off the wagon on February 13th.  The plan was to resume on Monday (Feb 24th), but I didn’t.

Then, Wednesday morning I woke up feeling absolutely horrible.  I was down most of the day and only got up to use the restroom and do my 3 mile indoor walk (which was torture, but hey, keeping the streak alive).

When I woke up Thursday morning feeling much the same way, I started thinking I’d just wait till the next Monday to work on the food because I didn’t feel like dealing with it.  As I lay in bed, trying to make myself get up, I received a text from a friend asking if I had started back on Monday (I had told her at the memorial that was my plan) – oops.  I fessed up of course.  I thought about telling her I’d changed my mind and would start next week, but I just couldn’t bring myself to type that.  It felt like I was giving up again.

Barb Raveling’s “I’ll Start Tomorrow” chapter from I Deserve a Donut (and other lies that make you eat) echoed in my head.  A battle waged.  Would I concede defeat?

NO!

I knew could do something that day to move me back in the right direction nutritionally.  Last week I read Mastering Diabetes by Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro.  I have been following the “mindful diabetic” (Robby) for a while on Instagram.  His meals are so simple, his enthusiasm is contagious, his exercise regimen is inspiring, and it’s nice to see a diabetic who is thriving.

You may wonder why I would read this book? Diabetes runs in my family – both sides – all “types”.  I was a gestational diabetic (delivered five big babies) and it’s highly likely I’m headed for type 2 (if I’m not there already).

I’m sure I’ll discuss this book more because I’m one of those nerdy people who finds the operations of the human body insanely fascinating.  I LOVED all of the detailed explanations about cells and insulin and case studies.  Plus, I do believe in their program.

Anyway, a suggestion which really resonated with me was to just start with breakfast and make-over that meal for seven days in a row before moving to lunch.  Ironically, I did this many, many, many years ago before I ever read the idea in a book, and it does work if you can be patient with yourself.

I decided that was the thing I was going to do – prepare a breakfast according to the “Mastering Diabetes” guidelines.  Of course, since I’d already implemented intermittent fasting (which they add about 3 weeks into their program), I wondered, “Can I call it breakfast if I’m not eating till almost noon?”

Greens, pineapple, blueberries, dates, and chia seeds 🙂

I suppose I can call it anything I want.  Besides, if breakfast stands for “break fast”, I suppose it applies regardless of what time I eat my first meal of the day.  I tried to load up my serving bowl with whatever I had in the house which qualified.

YUM… and I instantly felt more energized than I have lately.  Then, I ended up eating “lunch” around 3PM, and it was within the guidelines too (mostly oranges).  Dinner? It was not within the guidelines; however, I didn’t get take-out and I finished by 7PM.  So, that was another win.

Unfortunately, at around 10PM I could no longer take the horrible migraine which began to creep in at 8PM and I ended up eating again.  I refuse to beat myself up over this.  I did what I felt like I needed to do at the time and I’m hopeful this will improve if I keep pressing forward.  Since I didn’t eat till noon on Friday, I still had a 14 hour fasting window, which I am perfectly happy with.

I don’t know how many days I’ll just focus on “breakfast” in the food arena, but I do know I plan to keep “showing up”. Besides, the slight changes I’ve made since Monday, coupled with the walking habit I’ve been building since January 1st, have resulted in a reduction of 3.2 pounds on the scale in 4 days (weighed Friday morning).  I’m headed in the right direction, thank you, Jesus!

So, until tomorrow, I pray you’ll join me in doing what we can today and not get hung up on meal names or perfection.  It’s “Leap Day”, make it count!

out of the whirlwind

I mentioned the other day about how I started walking on January 1st of this year.  By God’s grace, I’ve been able to continue that daily streak.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been nearly as consistent with another daily habit.

And it’s a rather important one, but hey, just showing up and being real over here.

Many years ago, I started completing a “read through the Bible in a year” schedule every other year.  Last year was the first off year I wished I had made it an annual practice instead.  So, this year I was really looking forward to starting on January 1st; however, I didn’t begin until somewhere around the 18th (at least I think that’s when I started).

This was partly due to having kids home from college (read “lack of routine”), being exhausted from the walking challenge, and attempting to follow a different reading plan than I’ve done in the past.

Over the years I’ve discovered that I prefer reading chronologically when I do a read-through and I have a version on my Kindle that I started using a few years ago.  This is a New King James version (pictured left), which is good.

This year I thought I’d change it up.  You see, my mom had told me about the Bible Project’s annual reading plan and I was really excited to do their program because I love their videos. Their version is “sort of” (but not really) chronological so I thought I could make it work for me.

I guess I’m just a bit spoiled by the ease of using my Kindle first thing in the morning because after weeks of trying to follow the new program (and failing to be consistent because it was far less convenient and more time consuming and not really chronological), I decided to go back to the habit of using my Kindle… but with a twist.

I love, love, love the Bible Project’s overview videos, so, when I begin a new book, I seek out their video summary(ies) for that book.  This has been a really interesting addition to the read-through experience.  I did just realize that they have an app now too.  I haven’t had a chance to check it out just yet, but it looks pretty cool.

Most recently, I went through the book of Job (yes, I’m still behind in my reading schedule, but slowly catching up).  I’ve read this book many times over the years and it’s generally felt rather laborious with all the flying accusations and seemingly conflicting messages.  With friends like Job’s, who needs enemies, am I right?!

Anyway, after years of reading and sermons, I get the general theme of the book, but I really like how the guys at the Bible Project sum it up.  Check it out if you’ve got a few minutes!  My favorite part is when God speaks “out of the whirlwind”.

There’s something about reading Job that just makes you tired and thankful.  Most people will never endure the amount of suffering he did… I say “most” because I know there are still plenty of people who have gone through some really horrible things which would rival even Job’s experience.  The grief and frustration in this book are so palpable they are exhausting.  Thankfully, the gratitude comes from realizing that no matter what happens, God is still in control and worthy of our trust.

I wonder if Job’s “friends” fell on their face when God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind.  What an incredible picture.  Even though life often resembles a whirlwind of chaos and pain and frustration… isn’t it nice to know He cares enough to speak to us in the midst of it?

So, until tomorrow, I pray we’ll continue to show up and allow God to teach us to trust Him in every circumstance.

 

 

the feeding window

When you go through a drive-through, you know what it means to be told to “pull up to the window”.  You’re gonna be paying hard earned moolah and then receiving a bag of something to eat which resembles food.  I am all too familiar with the fast-food window experience from start to finish; however, this isn’t about fast-food, or even “good food quickly“.

You’ve probably already guessed that I’m talking about intermittent fasting.  Everywhere you turn, this concept has been showing up in some form or another for a few years now.  It’s almost a bit faddish.  I’ve read quite a bit on it in the past couple of years and it seems there is actually some value in shortening one’s daily “feeding window”.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of this before, the feeding window is a set number of hours when one eats their meals.  Outside of that time-frame, you abstain from eating (also known as fasting).

It really is a pretty simple concept with several modes of execution.  Personally, I prefer the 16:8 method.  Since there is a plethora of information online and in books, I’ll just share my personal experience.  I attempted to try it out last year and managed to get in several solid weeks of consistent 12-16 hour fasting days.  While I didn’t drop significant weight (probably because I believed that I could eat anything during my feeding window and still lose weight), I learned three things very quickly:

  • the first few days are the hardest
  • choose a “window” that will work the most consistently with your daily routine
  • I slept better and had more energy once my body adjusted to the window

Fast forward to 2020… Eight days into the new year, I decided to do the Green Smoothie Girl Detox (which was mostly a good experience that I’m sure I’ll discuss later). Intermittent fasting is recommended during the detox and I followed it almost to the letter for 26 days.  Most days my fasting window was around 15 hours.  During this second experience I learned something else:

  • shortening your eating window AND cleaning up your diet (even if the caloric intake is the same) eliminates the constant desire to eat

When I graze all day long, I want to eat more.  I really believe something about that fasting window being in the 14 to 16 hour range daily shuts down my seemingly insatiable “hunger”.  It’s even more obvious when I try to eat at the same times every day (think “routine”).  Within a few days, my body adjusted and just wasn’t hungry between mealtimes.  Cleaning up the diet as well seemed to make this phenomenon even more significant (but we already knew cutting out processed food makes us crave it less, right?).

I cannot tell you “scientifically” why this happens for me, but as someone who has been plagued with constant feelings of “hunger/cravings” for decades, it was nice to experience a bit of a reprieve.

After I finished the first 26 days of the detox, I started over with the program hoping to continue since I was finally releasing excess weight instead of gaining or maintaining it.  Unfortunately, during the second round, I lost a very dear friend to cancer (I miss you, Patti) and I’ve been off plan since February 13th.

Prior to this, my eating window was 10AM to 7PM.  That’s a 9 hour window, although it wasn’t unusual for me to stop eating at 6 or 6:30.  I found this to be a window that worked well with my routine most of the time, until emotional eating kicked back in due to grief.

So what does this have to do with “showing up“?  Because on Tuesday (February 25th) I resumed my shortened feeding window.  Technically it started Monday night when I stopped eating by 7PM.  Rather than let my emotions continue to run amok, I am choosing to show up, renew my mind, and run to God for the strength to live within the boundary of intermittent fasting.

So, until tomorrow, I pray the Lord equips you to just show up in regard to your personal food boundaries.

 

crying over shoelaces

By the time January 1st rolled around, I was painfully aware of the fact that I couldn’t tie my own shoelaces.  I cannot express how utterly embarrassing this is to admit.  Not only had I gained so much weight over the 14 months prior to January 1st that my belly was a hindrance to the bending-over needed to reach them, but my general flexibility had dramatically deteriorated as well from a lack of activity.

Ugh.

I cried… in full-blown, “Tonya Harding” fashion, pointing helplessly at the laces dangling from my feet.

The last time I needed help tying my shoes was the last time I was pregnant… which was a really long time ago.

Waking up to this realization made me angry.  Yes, I have thyroid issues.  Yes, I have a severely compromised immune system and have been sick (very sick!).  Yes, I’ve been on an emotional roller-coaster, but NO, I was not helpless despite what my lack of effort indicated.

I am not usually a “sit in the mud and sulk” kind of girl, so I have no idea why I seemingly just “gave up” for the better part of 14 months.  That is not me and as 2020 approached, I began to see that I had some decisions to make.  More specifically, there was one thing I vowed to change starting on January 1st (and I hate New Year’s Resolutions).  I was still discouraged just enough to recognize that “the mud” was too deep to change everything immediately, but there was one thing I knew I could do.

I could walk…

…that is, if someone else would lace up my shoes.

It was a humbling moment.  That first three mile walk of the new year was so slow and painful.  And while I’ve sped up some from doing three miles a day (every day) so far this year, I am still experiencing pain most of the time.  Being out of shape is tough, people.  It isn’t for sissies, that’s for sure!  Thankfully, after a few weeks, coupled with paying closer attention to what I was putting in my pie-hole, I was able (with some grunting) to tie my own shoes again.

Most days, it has taken all of my willpower to complete the three miles.  Some days that was the only sense of “accomplishment” I had, but I thanked the Lord for the ability to take each step.  I have no idea if I’ll keep up the “three miles a day” streak indefinitely, but I’m not focusing on that.  I can only deal with today’s decisions, not tomorrow’s.

So, each day I decide if I’ll walk or not… and there have been some really difficult days already… days of pain… of sorrow… of grief… of darkness… of physical, mental, and emotional obstacles.

Some days I do it because I feel like it… some days I do it because it is good for me… some days I do it because the sun is out… some days I do it because I can and I know others who can’t… some days I do it because I want to keep the streak alive… some days I do it because I refuse to let my “can’t want to” brat have the last word… and some days I do it because I just want to make sure I can still tie my own shoes.

It’s about just showing up and asking God for the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  So, until tomorrow, may the Lord help you to take another step in the right direction.

 

just showing up

Yes, it has been a while since I posted out here.  I’ve started posts over and over, but never clicked that little “publish” button.  It’s difficult to explain where I’ve been and why.  Perhaps I’m not supposed to explain at this time.  Perhaps I’m just supposed to show up and let God work out all the other stuff.

I’ve been on a journey.  No, not an entirely positive one, but that’s probably not surprising to hear when someone returns from such a long silence.  I don’t know how much I’ll share because that will depend on what God lays on my heart.  For now, I’m just showing up.

I thought about titling this piece something inspirational like “Finally Getting 20/20 Vision”, but that would hint at a bit more enthusiasm than I’m feeling at the moment.  In reality, I still feel rather “blah” and “uninspired”.  That’s why I’m just showing up.

A new year. New stages of life. And I’m praying for “newness of life”.  I feel as though I’ve woken from a long sleep, far from refreshed, yet clinging to a tiny ray of hope which has somehow managed to penetrate the darkness.

So, my plan is to take you with me, for those who care to come, as I choose life and love.

Until tomorrow – may the Lord give you the strength to “just show up” in your life today.