Saturday, April 16, 2016

What's Your Ideal Size?

A close friend of mine asked me a very personal question about my fitness and health. “Through your exercise, what size or weight are you aiming to reach?”  You should never ask a lady her weight or size, it’s just impolite.  But this was a good friend and I laughed because I had fought with this issue for several years.  In my short lifetime, like many other women, I have battled with what my “ideal” size and weight should be.  I have had the years where I went into healthy overdrive and shrank to an unhealthy weight and I have had the years where a change in lifestyle and stress level caused me to rise to an unhealthy weight.  I know as women we change sizes so much and let’s face it, it effects our self-esteem and our confidence.  It’s ridiculous what women will put themselves through in order to try to gain back their self-esteem.  Then one brilliant day, I came to terms with one outstanding revelation: no matter my shape, size or age, I will always be ME, and I love ME, so why not just keep on being ME. 

So, what’s my ideal size or weight? ME!  I want to be a healthy ME.  I want to be able to physically play sports that I enjoy or go on a long walk without getting winded.  I want to be able to eat chocolate cake guilt-free but also make a healthy dish with vegetables and fruits.  I want to go to the doctor for my yearly physical (yes, I do those) and not fear my blood tests and heart checks because I know I am in good health. I want to be able to run after the cows when they get out of the pen, to stop them from going onto the highway.  I don’t want my lifestyle to revolving around my workout schedule or feel like I am in competition with other women.  I want to have the freedom to go on a leisurely Friday night walk with a friend but also veg out on my couch and watch movies on a Saturday.  I want to be able to put in my ear buds and enjoy a podcast and nature while out on a hike on a beautiful Tuesday night, after work.  I want to use this time to collect my thoughts and get back in touch with my soul.
I have been doing a little bit more running since it is finally nice outside again, and this is what I am after.  I want more of this!  I have lowered my resting heart rate 10 beats per minute, to 52 beats per minute and I’ll bet my blood test is awesome.  Have I lowered my weight or a pant size? Nope, and that’s ok, because I want to like exercise and I want to look forward to eating.  Health is about balance.  It is a balance of nutrition, fitness, mental, social, and spiritual.  Here’s to your health journey, and finding an ideal size or weight for yourself!

Friday, April 15, 2016

How to Fit Exercise into you Busy Life Schedule?

The follow article was published in the Dairy Girl Network March Newsletter, be sure to check out all of the great articles in their amazing newsletter and their resources!
How to Fit Exercise into your Busy Life Schedule?

*Disclaimer: I am not a trainer or coach, just a dairy girl offering some practical advice to help make exercise a part of your daily life.

We all know exercise is important to healthy living but let’s be real it takes time and commitment and we’re all very busy women.  A few weeks ago a post on the DGN page shared some favorite ways to de-stress, many of those comments included physical activity.  Personally, for years exercise was not a priority and I paid for it dearly in my mental, emotional and physical health.  I let the craziness of the farm dictate my diet and lifestyle choices which yielded very poor results.  I had no energy, even with sleep I felt tired.  Slowly, small changes really started to change my attitude, self-confidence and physical health.  For me the actual act of unplugging from the hectic schedule at work and the farm forces me to relax, think, recharge and heal my body and soul.   Besides the physical benefits of exercise there are many social, psychological, mental and spiritual benefits.  So we know it’s good for us, how do we fit exercise in?

·       Write down your goal to have physical activity at least 5 times a week, giving yourself a couple days to “cheat” and take a break.  We all know writing down goals is an important first step.

·       Pick a time of day that you can consistently commit to, for me it was right after feeding calves in the evening.

·       Start small and light, perhaps 30 minute walks or biking around your neighborhood (be sure to wave hello to the neighbors when you pass by!).

·       Sign up for a local 5k, thereby setting a deadline and a goal to train for.  Represent Team Dairy while you train by refueling with chocolate milk!

·       Choose a variety of activities: I do everything from running, walking, hiking, biking, and even dance cardio in my basement.  Mix it up!

·       Play with your kids!  This totally counts!  I don’t have children but I will gladly go running with my nieces! Plus this makes some great memories for your kids!

·       Schedule time to work out with your friends.  Some of the best workouts I had were when I helped a friend train for a marathon.  My friend ran while I rode bike with her.  It was almost effortless to workout with someone, plus we had time to talk to each other and we had each other to keep accountable.

·       Bring tunes or your favorite podcasts!  I love my phone and ear buds!  Walks and runs are the perfect time to catch up on your favorite podcasts, audiobooks or even listen to some spiritual music to get in the right state of mind.

·       Make sure you are getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water and making moderate food choices.  All of these factor into your energy level and total health.

·       Give yourself permission to take time for yourselves.  When we are better versions of ourselves we are better wives, mothers, friends, co-workers, bosses, and women.  Be sure to give yourself permission to take care of yourself, because you are worth it!

Enjoying a beautiful day for a hike/run in the woods, complete with my favorite podcasts for meditation time.