Posted in Health, Lifestyle change, Travel

A 20 Minute Hike that Took 3 Years

I’m not great at selfies.

For my “featured” photo on a blog post, I try to use a reasonably polished-looking picture. And I usually have someone else take that picture for me. As my friend Suzanne will tell you, it’s not just selfies. Photography in general is not my strong suit.

But today, I am proudly broadcasting this selfie over the interwebs for the world to see (okay, maybe just the awesome cluster of people who read this blog, but still…). Behind this selfie is a three-year journey of sweat, strength, and self-discovery.

Continue reading “A 20 Minute Hike that Took 3 Years”

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Posted in Health, Lifestyle change

Bricks Over Spoons

It’s been a month since my last blog post. My goal is to publish at least twice per month, but in the past few weeks I’ve had some unexpected (and upsetting) change come my way. I sat down to write a few times, but I just didn’t have it in me.

But today I’m grateful to be back doing what I love, and I’m returning with a message of hope for anyone who has ever struggled with emotional eating.

What happened? Continue reading “Bricks Over Spoons”

Posted in Health, Lifestyle change, Nutrition, Wellness

Have it Your Way

One of my favorite comedians, John Mulaney, has a great bit about the difference between kids and adults. It goes something like this:

Ask a kid what they did over the weekend: “Awww, we didn’t do anything!” *pouty face*

Ask an adult the same question: “Ahhh, we didn’t do anything!” *happy face*

As an adult, is there anything more satisfying than canceled plans? If there is, I haven’t found it.

What is a top complaint among grown people in the modern world? Too much to do, not enough time.

And when people get busy (myself included), diet is one of the first things to fall by the wayside. We reach for what is fast and convenient, which our industrial food sector is more than happy to supply. Continue reading “Have it Your Way”

Posted in Health, Lifestyle change, Strength Training, Wellness

Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass: Part 2

There’s an old parable often referred to as the “streetlight effect,” that goes something like this:

A policeman comes across a drunkard searching for his car keys under a streetlight. Neither can kind the keys. The policeman asks the drunkard if he lost his keys in this spot. The drunkard replies, “No, I lost them in the park.”

“The park?” The policeman responds. “Then why are you looking here?”

The drunkard responds: “This is where the light is.”

When dealing with a problem, we often do the same thing. We look where the light is because it’s the most obvious thing we can see. But sometimes the light is misleading.

As I described in part 1 of Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass, the “light” was coming off my back in waves: I had a bulging disc in my lower back. I had signs of arthiritis in my back. The pain was in my back. Stands to reason that I, and all of the health professionals around me, were focused on my back.

But the true origin of the problem was not under the streetlight. It was in the dark, obscured nether regions of my ass (and hamstrings, to be precise). Continue reading “Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass: Part 2”

Posted in Lifestyle change, Strength Training, Wellness Coaching

Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my journey to strength training at Ludus Magnus began with back pain. Chronic, limiting, debilitating back pain.

I lived with it every day. Some days it was a low-level ache, a kind of white noise that lingered in the background of my daily movements. Other days, I would have recurring spasms in my low back, accompanied by sharp stabbing pain in my ass cheeks that radiated through my hips and down my legs.

In hospitals and doctors’ offices they have pain rating scales such as this where they ask patients to assign a number to their pain level:

Pain_scale

I lived between 4 and 9. Even with chiropractic care and massage therapy 1-3 times per week, daily ibuprofen, regular stretching, and multiple icing sessions per day, it never got better than 4.  Continue reading “Anatomy of a Pain in the Ass”

Posted in Lifestyle change, mental health, Wellness Coaching

39 Feels Fine

I just recently had a birthday, and I am now officially 39 years old. I received many warm birthday greetings and messages on my Facebook page, but one in particular stood out to me:

“39 is the new 29!”

I appreciate the sentiment, and I get what they mean by it. For most people, they remember their younger years as a time of greater energy and vitality (and typically a smaller waist).

In this respect, I’m not like most people. You couldn’t pay me to be 29 again. No way.

I’ve been enjoying old episodes of The Golden Girls on Hulu, so please indulge me as I channel my inner Sophia:

Picture it: Columbus, Ohio, 2007. Continue reading “39 Feels Fine”

Posted in Lifestyle change, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Wellness Coaching

The MyFitnessPal Trilogy Episode 3: Free to Eat

I took last week off from blogging to enjoy several days of Valentines Day and birthday-related fun, and spent some much-needed time with loved ones. But I’m back from my little mini-vacation to present the thrilling conclusion to the MyFitnessPal Trilogy. (Poking a bit of fun at myself here; I strive to not take myself quite that seriously!)

To recap: in Episode 1, I described what life was like before MyFitnessPal. In Episode 2, I finally began using the app to track my food every day, and learned the hard truth about what I was really eating. This final installment in our little saga is about what life is like today…

As of the publication of this post, I have logged into MyFitnessPal for 679 days in a row. It’s a way of life that works for me; it has become my new normal. Far from being a burdensome chore, it has freed me from how I used to live. Tracking my food every day has brought many gifts to my life, but the greatest one of all is not what you might expect. It’s not higher protein intake, or reduced sugar, or even weight loss.

It’s mindfulness.

For most of my life, I have eaten compulsively. Food was my drug, my first choice for comfort, entertainment, and pleasure. So much of my behavior was mindless and automatic, driven by craving and habit rather than intention. That used to be my way of life; that was my normal. Continue reading “The MyFitnessPal Trilogy Episode 3: Free to Eat”