When I first began exercising as an adult, I was doing so for all of the wrong reasons. Maybe I shouldn’t say, “wrong” reasons, but not for the right reason(s). We are told to exercise to lose weight, lower cholesterol, increase bone density, etc, but I feel that one of the most important reasons isn’t mentioned often enough – and that is our mental benefit. More on that later.
I have been pretty lucky most of my life in regard to weight, in that I haven’t ever really been overweight, but that didn’t mean I was healthy. I have suffered from an eating disorder (anorexia) on and off for decades and that was, at times, my motivation for exercise. My disordered thinking convinced me that the more I exercised, the more I could eat or the more weight I could lose. I didn’t see that as wrong, as I wasn’t technically starving myself. As I have journeyed through recovery, instead of using exercise as a means to lose weight, I have come to understand that it is much more about what my body is capable of doing…running marathons, lifting weights, etc.
I would have expected that by this point in my life (personal trainer + running coach), I would recognize and understand the benefits of exercise. I do – don’t get me wrong – when it comes to the facts. But bring in the personal, emotional side of all of that and it adds a new level of complexity. During marathon training season, I follow a training plan, which basically schedules my workouts for the week. I add in a strength training session or two, plus core class, and there is really nothing for me to think about. I do the workouts, feel great, and go about life. Once marathon training season is over (usually May/June and November/December) with no training plan and no set workouts, things get complicated. My body is recovering from the training and race I just completed, and that recovery is sometimes more challenging than the training itself. I sleep in, maybe squeeze in a couple of runs and a strength training session and attend core class sporadically.This is all well and good. Until it’s not.
The less I run and the less I work out, the worse I feel. My legs are stiff, my back aches, my brain is cloudy. I want to sleep more, but can’t figure out why I am so tired, as I am not working out nearly as much as I had been a month or two earlier. I know what will make me feel better, yet I can’t bring myself to do it. From past experience, I know that I have the best chance of getting my workout done when I exercise in the morning. When I try to sleep in and head out for my run late morning or early evening, I find every excuse in the book to not do it. I am busy. My head hurts. Homeland is on. Something has to give…I have to change something.
I figured out that I was making a couple of critical mistakes that needed to be corrected in order for me to get myself out of this rut. First of all, I realized that I had been beating myself up for some decisions I made. If I woke up and decided not to run in the morning, I berated myself for the remainder of the day. I made a decision (with the help of my therapist) to live by and accept my choices. Move on and find something else to occupy my mind. I cannot begin to describe to you how much of a difference this has made for me! By giving myself permission to accept my choices, there was no further self-abasement or rationalization. No questions, no arguments, no berating. It is like I flipped a switch.
Additionally, I had been of the mind that if I didn’t get in a certain number of miles or lift weights for so many minutes, it wasn’t worth the effort. I always tell my clients that something is better than nothing, so why couldn’t I follow that advice? It was high time for me to start! In an effort to keep myself accountable, I began scheduling workouts with my friend, Sue. One morning I didn’t have time to get in much of a run before we lifted weights, but I decided to take the time when I otherwise would have surfed Facebook on my phone and hopped on the treadmill. I managed to squeeze in “just” a mile, and the difference it made in my mental state was totally unexpected. It seemed as though I had run more like 4 or 5 miles, judging by the way I felt mentally. After that brief one mile run, I had a fabulous weight workout, and my whole day gained a much brighter perspective.
Sweaty and happy after a treadmill run and weight lifting session.
Since that day, I have applied these lessons to my workout plans. At the beginning of each week – usually on Sunday afternoons – I schedule every workout for the entire upcoming week. And while I used to enjoy running alone, that approach isn’t working for me right now. So I run with friends. I went back to core class on Sundays. I lift weights. I go to hot yoga. The difference in how I feel today from how I felt in December is like night and day. I wouldn’t have believed such an outcome was possible unless I had experienced it myself. With my new perspective, I took all of the pressure off and focused on just moving. If I found I didn’t have “enough” time or if I only felt like doing so much, fine. The mental benefit I have gained from even 10 minutes of exercise is priceless. I feel good. I feel strong. I am exercising to get that mental benefit more than anything else right now, and because I am focused on that, the rest of it all falls into place.
I had to make the mental shift. Our bodies were made to move. Exercise is the best medicine. The key is finding what works for you. When in doubt, work it out.
Stayed tuned for my upcoming post on how I am fueling gluten-free for my workouts these days. I have a fun new toy that has allowed me to make some fun new post-run drinks.
Happy New Year! Enjoying any new gluten-free products I should know about? According to P.F. Chang’s, yesterday was National Gluten-Free day. Have you ever eaten at P.F. Chang’s? It is a favorite of mine, though I don’t get the chance to go often enough.
P.F. Chang’s has 19 different gluten-free menu options ranging from Lettuce Wraps and Fried Rice to the amazing Flourless Chocolate Dome.
P.F. Chang’s has locations across the US with a few new locations that just opened or will be opening soon. They take reservations online or over the phone, so make those reservations to celebrate National Gluten-Free Day!
With all of this food talk, it’s a good thing I am back in the swing of running regularly. I am training for the Cap City Half Marathon that will take place on May 2, 2015. I can’t believe this will be my 16th half marathon!
What is your favorite P.F. Chang’s gluten-free menu item?
Where did 2014 go? I can’t believe it is December already! I am still posting daily on Celiac-Disease.com, the Gluten-Free is Life Facebook page and Twitter, but as you can see, I haven’t posted here since July. In a perfect world I would be able to keep up with everything, but we all know that is not how the real world is. So what have I been up to? Let’s see…
Jon went away to college and is almost done with his first semester at Ohio University. We thought we were fortunate to have a wonderful gluten-free program in place for him, but it didn’t turn out like we thought. Jon was getting sick on a regular basis and had to get an exemption from the meal plan. He made the difficult decision to transfer to The Ohio State University, which is much closer to home and will help him be able to manage his gluten-free diet better.
I completed marathon #2 on October 19, 2014. This marathon went much better than my first marathon in 2010, though I don’t see myself doing another 26.2 any time soon. I love the half marathon and will be focusing on that distance for the foreseeable future.
Both dogs had a rough month of October. They both ended up hospitalized for 3-4 days (at different times…a week apart). Pippy had gastroenteritis and Chewbacca hurt his back somehow. They both came home on meds that had to be given around the clock and Chewbacca is still on “crate rest”. Thank goodness they are both doing better now. It also helps that they are very cute!
Chewbacca showing us that he is not a fan of crate rest
Thanksgiving was done all gluten-free except for the Crescent Rolls. We used HEB Honey Cornbread Mix for our Cornbread Stuffing and it was out of this world! While we don’t have any HEB stores here in Ohio, my step mother was kind enough to send us all of their mixes for us to try.
The personal training business is going very well! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy my “job”. Working with so many amazing women on a daily basis is so inspiring. I even have a few clients who are gluten-free!
Hope you have all been well and have a wonderful holiday season!
Are you ready to celebrate the Fourth of July a week from today? I plan on running a 5K to start the day off and then refuel later with a juicy Jennie-O turkey burger. Turkey burgers are typically lower in fat than beef burgers, but that doesn’t mean they have to be any less flavorful.
Tips for grilling the juiciest turkey burger ever:
- Don’t overwork meat, which can make it dense and tough
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or sautéed onions to ground turkey for a juicier burger
- Do not push down on the burgers with your spatula (you’ll lose the juices!)
- Allow burgers to rest a few minutes before serving to let juices redistribute
If you buy the already formed frozen burgers, here are some tips I use to keep the burger juicy:
- Pan-fry and keep a lid over the pan
- Don’t push down on the burger
- Monitor temperature of the burger so you don’t overcook
It is really important to make sure to cook turkey burgers to 165 degrees. The best way to do this is with an instant read thermometer or a fancy kitchen thermometer that connects via bluetooth to your iPhone.
I can’t even begin to tell you how cool this Mini Kitchen Thermometer is…I am such a gadget geek!
My dinner last night. I thought it was a good idea to practice for the Fourth of July and try out my new toy. Simple turkey burger with cheddar, lettuce and ketchup with sweet potato steak fries.
If burgers aren’t your thing, no worries, Jennie-O has got your covered with their new Uncured Turkey Franks.
Jennie-O has a list of gluten-free products on their website, but they also clearly label their products so that there is no confusion.
If you are looking for inspiration, be sure to check out the Jennie-O website for all kinds of recipes. There is even a section for BBQ/Picnics…perfect for the Fourth of July! *Not all of the recipes are written gluten-free, so use caution when preparing.
How will you celebrate your holiday? Will you make the switch?
*The products mentioned in this post were sent to me free of charge for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.
Although it seems like I have disappeared, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, I promise. It’s summer time and things are hopping. There has been an increase of personal training clients at the studio, school is out, marathon training is in full swing and the puppies take up a lot of my time. I still post daily over at Celiac-Disease.com and remain active on the Gluten-Free is Life Facebook page.
You may have caught that I am “marathon” training in the paragraph above. I do believe that I said I would “never” run a full marathon again, however, we all know how the saying goes, “Never say never”. While I could go into great detail about the thought process that went into this decision, I won’t bore you with all of that. The simple fact is that I may just be a little bit crazy.
As marathon training ramps up, I am experimenting with different products to help hydrate and fuel me along the way. Below is the newest hydration mix I have sampled.
Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix
This is an all natural sports drink. It replaces both the fluid and electrolytes you lose in your sweat while providing just enough calories to help fuel your working muscles. Flavored with only real fruit and containing no artificial colors or preservatives, our drink mix won’t upset your stomach, leave a bad taste in your mouth, or challenge your IQ with tongue twisting chem-lab ingredients. It just works better. Maybe that’s why, for years, top athletes have been secretly replacing their sponsors’ products with drink mix made from Skratch. You Sweat. We Hydrate.
I tried the Exercise Hydration Mix with Raspberries and really enjoyed the taste. It was not overly sweet like some sports drinks on the market and it really seemed to agree with my stomach, which is the most important thing. All of the Exercise and Everyday Mixes are free of wheat, gluten, soy and dairy. Skratch Labs products can be found in select stores or online.
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Last weekend I had the opportunity to try the new gluten-free pizza crust now being served at Mellow Mushroom. The new pizza crust is not just gluten-free, it is vegan, too!
Mellow Mushroom’s original gluten-free pizza wasn’t bad, but it was made with bean flour, which many people don’t care for. The new gluten-free pizza doesn’t have bean flour in it; it’s made with Smart Flour. Smart Flour is a gluten-free flour blend that contains tapioca flour, sorghum flour, amaranth flour and teff flour.
There are many different gluten-free pizza options, including a vegan cheese (Daiya). I chose the Veg Out pizza and was thrilled with the flavor and texture of the new crust.
The staff at Mellow Mushroom goes to great lengths reduce the risk of cross-contamination. The staff changes their gloves and aprons, the pizzas are prepared in a separate area and then cooked on a screen so the pizza will never have contact with the pizza stone.
Have you tried the new gluten-free crust at Mellow Mushroom?
*The food mentioned in this post was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.
Time flies. As Jon’s high school graduation approached, in addition to trying to figure out what happened to my kindergartener, I began to search for a bakery to make a custom gluten-free cake for the occasion. The last thing I wanted to have to worry about was baking a cake.
It was a good thing that I was able to find Soodles Bake Shop, as I was running around the day before graduation paying unpaid parking tickets and exchanging a graduation gown that was meant for someone an entire foot shorter than Jon.
Soodles Bake Shop bakes a wide variety of gluten-free products, including customized cakes. The facility/products are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, fish/shellfish and peanuts. The customized cakes are available in several different sizes and two different flavors. We went with the 1/4 sheet cake (double layer) for $42. Half the cake was chocolate, the other half was vanilla.
The cake was a huge hit and disappeared quickly. I had small pieces of each variety and while they were both very good, I fell in love with the chocolate. That really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as I haven’t met a lot of chocolate things I don’t like.
Soodles Bake Shop was founded by Amy McCrea after she determined gluten, dairy, egg and soy were triggers for her digestive and eczema issues. Read more about Amy and Soodles Bake Shop here. Thanks Amy for making our day even greater!
Welcome to the 5th of May! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on the lean (and gluten-free) with Jennie-O. Save time with pre-seasoned taco meat…it really doesn’t get much easier than this!
Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey (no gluten), Wholly Guacamole and Herdez Salsa.
If you are looking for some recipes to inspire you, check out these yummy recipes:
How will you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
*Products mentioned in this post were sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this post. Thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.
Welcome to May! May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, so let’s kick the month off with some information, shall we?!
What is Celiac Disease? It is a genetically based autoimmune disease that is triggered by gluten. It is not an allergy.
Who has Celiac Disease? 1 in 133 people in the US are estimated to have Celiac Disease, though the majority are undiagnosed.
Is there a cure for Celiac Disease? The only cure is a gluten-free diet.
There are many different signs and symptoms of Celiac Disease. Check out the NFCA symptom checklist for more information.
GFIL top rated gluten-free product: Udi’s Gluten-Free Bagels.
Happy Earth Day! Did you know that Balance Bar Dark Bars are made with 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa? I didn’t!
The Rainforest Alliance certification assures consumers that our cocoa beans are grown on sustainably managed farms that protect people and their surrounding ecosystems of water, soil and wildlife.
In celebration of Earth Day, I am offering one lucky reader a box of Balance Bar Dark Chocolate Crunch Bars.
More about Balance Bar Dark Bars:
Time to tap into your dark side! Balance Bar Dark bars are packed with nutritious protein and fiber, certified Gluten Free and made with 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa—which means they’re good for you AND the environment. Decadent and sweet, each dark chocolate bar is a scrumptious way to get the 40-30-30 nutrition and long-lasting energy you need to outlast the day (or own the dark)!
The Balance Bar Dark Bars are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). *It is important to note that not all Balance Bars are gluten-free…those that are will be clearly labeled. There are three different varieties of gluten-free bars:
- Dark Chocolate Crunch
- Dark Chocolate Peanut
- Dark Chocolate Coconut
All you have to do to enter to win a box of Balance Bar Dark Bars is leave me a comment telling me how you are celebrating Earth Day. Winner will be randomly chosen on the morning of April 25, 2014.
*The products mentioned in this post are being provided free of charge for review and giveaway purposes. The thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.