Hey guys! Well, I’m breaking my internet silence and absence of a few days to share because I simply enjoy connecting with you in this space. Isn’t that neat? It’s a community – a small one, an online one, and one that serves me well as a place to process, share and explore ideas – but a community nonetheless! Today I wanted to share some tips and tricks (no, not a “hack” – I’m done “hacking” my way through life!) that are contributing to my health and invite you in to the conversation to share ways that you are living well. I am slowly realizing that I enjoy writing about life in a broader sense because I’m so interested in pursuing balance and coaching others to live in such a way that facilitates, simply put, fuller life! I think I’m moving away from sharing my meals (which I never did much of and wasn’t very original with) and workouts (which will always be a part of this space) and stepping into how to live well. I want this to be a place of encouragement, motivation and growth for us and not just a place to share content that others are sharing in more complete ways.
Bear with me as I explore the root of this shift… Perhaps it all stems from my favorite verse, John 10:10, “I [Jesus] came that you may have life and have it to the full!” I’ve always been about “full life” ever since I started blogging about our cancer journey 8 years ago and it continues to fascinate and inspire me as I see so many others, with so much success, wealth, opportunity and connections living such dull, meaningless or negative lives. What about full life? Isn’t there something more? I thought about this the other morning while driving to work. We live near the Alpha House, a half-way house of sorts that is a place for people to come down off their high, and we often see people passed out or stumbling along in our neighborhood. It’s hard to see and hard to know how to help; the food I’ve often offered is passed over in favor of beer or money so sometimes I feel like my hands are tied in terms of helping in a tangible way.
So…back to the story. As I was driving, I saw a man sitting on the sidewalk with his legs crossed, and as I got closer I realized that in his hands was the face of another man, seated facing him. It was such a striking image to me of (likely) addiction, homelessness and pain and yet also of deep love, care and community. These men understand the importance of community, of walking through life with one another, of loving others in a profound way because they rely on each other daily. That picture stuck with me all day and brought me back to a recent sermon I listened to by Tim Keller called “Blessed Are the Poor.” The rich – or the middle class, comfortable folk like me – hear the gospel (literally, the “good news”) and aren’t always excited by it; why do we need a Savior? What am I really being saved from? But the poor…The poor hear the good news and they GET IT. They are given hope, given love, given acceptance and redemption which they so desperately need – the same things we need and are offered while simultaneously not seeing our need for them.
Mikey and Misha – community in action at our recent Wellspring skating event!
Those guys sitting there at 6 am, one face resting in another’s hands, eyes locked and still, get this need for community. I wonder how much we get that, or sense our need for it? How often do we spend lost on the internet in communities that may provide some connection but don’t necessarily fill us up, check in with us or care for us deeply?
These are some of things I’ve been pondering after taking a break from being online.
Emails and texting with clients, yes, but no social media including Facebook (my biggest time waster), tweeting, blog reading and Instagram (my favorite). I’ve found myself wanting to pop online for no real reason at all or thinking, “I should snap a photo!” and then realizing I simply didn’t need to and found other things to do. I can honestly say I’ve wasted less time and haven’t felt disconnected from people. I am breaking this technology fast early because I feel like my reset button has already been set, and it feels great. I’ll be keeping Facebook (and possibly Instagram?) off my phone and eliminating that opportunity to go online just for the sake of using up time. I’ve read my Bible more, connected with people for coffee, gone on more walks and even started a new book (for a non-reader, this is a big one for me!), and it feels great. I do use Facebook to connect with people for my business (both fitness-wise and with Wellspring as the young adult team lead for cancer programs), so I’ll hop back on for those purposes mainly and because it IS a good way to stay connected, but I will have more parameters on how long I allow myself to browse online, and that focus feels good!
So now that I’ll be limiting my online time, here are a few other ways I’m cultivating health in my daily life:
Relaxing about food. You’ll remember from my last blog post that I’m practicing If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) right now (Kindal has an awesome blog post about this if you want more info on what IIFYM is and how it works!) and I’m relaxing how good real foods make me feel! I’ve also been reminded that I truly enjoy that once-a-week licorice snack I have Fridays or a glass of wine and piece of dark chocolate throughout the week. I’m not practicing IIFYM to lose weight (although I do want to reduce some bloat and feel stronger in the gym!) and am not practicing it as much as I am understanding my protein needs, not going overboard on fat and enjoying good carbohydrates. It’s more of an awareness thing and it’s working for me – and that, coupled with intermittent fasting (refer to last post), is allowing me to relax about my intake, enjoy life and be fueled primarily by healthy, voluminous foods! I like that.
Supplementing my diet. While a solid foundation is the main part of eating well (with real, whole foods), I also take a few supplements that do just that – supplement my diet. This includes a greens powder (right now it’s Amazing Grass’ gogi and acai berry flavor) for the day that I’m running around or don’t have vegetables in the fridge:
Vitamin D (I DO live north in Canada, after all – all of us northerners should be taking it!) and a fish oil (because I don’t get those Omega 3’s from fish 2x/week – it’s just not my favorite thing to eat or prepare!):
And occasionally an additional supplement like SierraSil, which supports healthy cartilage, pulls heavy metals out of the body, and helps fight inflammation. I was sent this via my partnership with Social Nature, and it’s been great to incorporate into my routine.
SierraSil promises results in 14 days or your money back, so while you can’t tell taking it once or twice, you do feel a change over time with aches, pains and stiffness! This is especially great if you have joint pain, are training hard, and even for pets with problems!
I’ve noticed quicker recovery in between workouts and a general sense of feeling good going from the gym to the backcountry for long ski days to the running trails. If this sounds like something you’d benefit from and want to give SierraSil a go, click here for 20% off on this product! And thanks to Social Nature, if you’re interested in looking at more products to help you #trynatural, check out this link for many other free sampling opportunities.
Walking more. I’ve read (and told people!) for so long about the benefits of walking. It’s the not-so-secret for weight loss (low intensity, do-anywhere, burns fat not muscle, good for your mind and emotions) but I’m often found home at night without having moved too much that day besides a short workout. Simply because it’s good for me, there’s so much research about it, and it’s relaxing, I’ve been getting out and waking more. To work, to the store for a few groceries, in between clients even if it’s for 20 minutes. I’ve had some amazing moments of worship and prayer times, watched the sunrise and sunset, chosen to walk rather than even do a weight workout for that day (many days lately, actually!) and been listening to some great podcasts. A few I’m enjoying these days:
Seen on a recent walk; I took some time to kneel and pray and then look out over our city and enjoy the view and quiet.
Are you walking much? It offers reductions in diabetes and heart disease, decreases in high blood pressure, increases in bone density, is good for cognitive function, helps alleviate symptoms of depression, improves fitness and physical function (source). It’s not a waste of time, is great to do with other people, is great alone time, and can be used for leisure or fitness. …go walk! 😉
Not fighting myself. I’ve realized that I’m not a reader or book person as much as I desire to be. So, instead of fighting that and getting disappointed in myself, I listen to audio books, read on my phone (NOT Facebook any longer!), and listen to fun and educational podcasts (I like a mix of both). So now I go with it! Might as well make life easier for myself and set myself up for success!
Another way I do this is by buying pre-chopped foods like broccoli slaw or cauliflower heads. Little things like this go a long way in me being successful in the kitchen, so again, it’s about making life a little easier and setting myself up to do well. I make my coffee the night before, I do what can be done in 1 minute right then rather than procrastinate and keep the house tidy. Not necessarily clean, but tidy! 😉 I think better and live better in that space, and a few minutes here and there sure goes a long way.
Make time for people. From quick text messages to friends to let them know I’m praying for them to in-person coffee dates; from sitting and talking with Mikey at night BEFORE we watch a show to staying at the end of the day to talk with clients about what’s going on their lives, making time for people is something that contributes to my health and a better way of life for me. I know Tina just sent some “stay well” packages (such a neat idea!) to family and you can invite someone over for dinner. Being involved in a weekly group, like our small group (you know us as “Fat Tuesday!”) from church, is something that keeps us connected and, while often a struggle to get there weekly after full, busy days, is ALWAYS such a positive commitment in our lives because of the community. What’s one thing you can do to stay intentionally engaged with others in life?
Prioritize sleep. Man, is this ever important. There are resources aplenty about the value of sleep (Shawn Stevenson’s new book Sleep Smarter is one of them!) and all I can say is, don’t keep running on all cylinders. Your relationships will suffer, your brain won’t function as well, your energy will eventually run out, you might lose your sex drive, and your fat loss AND strength gaining goals will stall out.
At this moment, these are the things that come to mind in terms of living a healthier lifestyle. It starts with community, branches out to managing technology well, hits my food and movement (not even necessarily “working out”) and lands on sleep. There’s more to the list, sure (value of living a more-than-one-dimensional life, stepping out of your comfort zone, staying accountable to friends or a professional of some sort for your goals or life direction, not ignoring your spiritual life, etc), but this is a start!
What’s one thing you’ve done in the last while that’s made a difference in your health in some way? I’d love to hear what you would add to the list and please feel free to leave any links and discuss more in the comments below! And remember, if you’re looking to try some new products, join the Social Nature community and #trynatural for FREE! 😀
Live well & be well friends!