Please don’t run.

We are in the midst of a series called “How do we thrive in this season of uncertainty?” If there is anything we can be certain of, it’s that we are in the midst of a season of uncertainty. We have spent the last couple weeks specifically talking about how we can thrive physically in this season. I started off this sub-series by talking about the importance of having a “why; without a compelling “why” we are a lot less likely to follow up with our wellness goals. Last week I shared 10 healthy eating tips because, yes, we truly are what we eat. This week I’m going to wrap up this sub-series by giving you 10 more tips on how to thrive physically in seasons of uncertainty. 

10 tips on how to thrive physically in seasons of uncertainty. 

  1. You need to prioritize sleep. Sleep is my top priority when it comes to my health. To be honest, it comes with sacrifices. I need 9 hours of sleep per night. I have tried so hard to survive on less, but I can’t. If I go more than 2-3 days with less than 9 hours of sleep, I am crabby. I can’t think straight. I am unable to make good decisions and my workouts suffer. Did you know that it is more important that you get a good night’s sleep than it is that you exercise? (Don’t believe me? Read this article: https://www.verywellfit.com/sleep-or-exercise-the-answer-will-improve-both-85902)

Let me share a few reasons why sleep is so important. 

  1. Researchers have found that people who sleep fewer hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. 
  2. Sleep is key to recovery. While we sleep, the body is hard at work repairing damage. 
  3. Lack of sleep is linked to depression and anxiety. 
  4. Sleep improves your immune function. 
  5. Sleep improves your athletic and physical performance.  
  6. Sleep gives us the energy to walk out God’s calling our life. 

But Lisa, I am so busy, how can I get more sleep? 

Do you watch TV? If you watch TV or use any electronics during the day, you have time for more sleep. If we have to choose between sleep and TV, we have to choose sleep whether we want to or not.  

2. Drink water all day long. If you google “How much water should I drink?” you will find a ton of different answers. My suggestion is to have water with you at all times and consistently drink it throughout the day. Don’t chug it, it will go right through you and it won’t serve its purpose. Don’t aim for totally clear pee either, it should be a yellow tint (someone had to say it). The benefits of drinking enough water are endless, just google it. 

3. Set realistic goals. DO NOT compare yourself to other people and what they are doing. Also, remember you aren’t a high school or college athlete anymore. When we compare ourselves to other people, we are comparing the entirety of our lives to a small piece of someone else’s life.  We also can’t compare our current selves to our younger selves.  One of the main reasons people stop exercising is because they do too much, too fast. They then either get injured or too discouraged to continue. Set realistic short term and long term goals. 

4. PLEASE. PLEASE. If you are just starting to exercise, please do not start off by running. I feel like people look at running as the gold standard of exercise. I am a runner and there is nothing like it. But if you have not exercised recently and start off with running, you are going to feel discouraged and give up – especially if one of your goals is to lose weight. Each time your foot hits the ground you are bearing 5x’s your body weight. Get into an exercise routine and lose some weight first, then start running. 

5. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy. Like I mentioned, people look at running as the gold standard for exercising. If you hate running, don’t run. Find some type of exercise you enjoy doing and do that. There are hundreds of different ways to get your body moving. If you hate doing something, you won’t keep doing it. 

6. Remember that there is a difference between being active and exercising. Don’t get me wrong, being active is super important – but exercising is a different thing. When I go on walks with people I will often ask, is this an exercise walk or just a walk? An exercise walk is a walk where you intend on getting your heart rate up, a walk just to walk is a leisure activity. Different goals = different outcomes. Just because you went on a leisure walk doesn’t mean you don’t have to exercise. 

7. Dress the part. Full disclosure, when I started working as a trainer I would snicker a little bit when people came into the gym for the first time with fancy new outfits. I would always think to myself “Well, they just spent a ton of money on clothes that they will use once.” I was wrong. I’ve learned over time that there is power in dressing the part. If you are dressed like you are going to exercise, there is a much higher chance that you will. 

8. Get the right shoes. I know this seems like a silly tip, but getting the right shoes is key. If you don’t have the right shoes you will experience more soreness and you will be more prone to injury. If you are going to run, you need to get running shoes. If you are going to use the elliptical or do a class, get a good pair of cross trainers. If possible, only wear your running shoes for running. They are designed specifically for running. 

9. Surround yourself with healthy people. We tend to become like the people we spend time with. Go out of your way to spend time with the people in your life that have healthy habits. Instead of meeting up for dinner or coffee, meet up for a walk or meet at the gym. 

10. Tell everyone you know when you are starting a new healthy living habit. Post it all over social media and tell everyone you see. Just knowing other people know will help hold you accountable.

My hope and prayer is you can take a few of the tips I have shared over the last couple weeks and try them. 

Friends, taking care of yourself physically is work. It comes with a cost of time, desire and comfort. You have to sacrifice time to sleep more. You have sacrifice comfort when you first start exercising, it can be messy and uncomfortable. You have die to your desires when you chose not to eat another cookie. But I promise the sacrifices are worth it. Trust me on this one. It may not feel worth it at first, but there is no better feeling than having the energy, stamina and strength to walk out the unique calling God has on your life.

Because there is more,

Lisa

Are you what you eat?

Have we lost all control?

I don’t know about you, but I feel like any control I did have (or at least felt like I had), has been lost. I am a planner and usually our schedule is booked a month out at a time. Lately, I’m lucky if I know what the plan is tomorrow. When I was a personal trainer, I found myself saying often to my clients, “There is so much in life that we can’t control, let’s control what we can.”

Believe it or not, no matter how crazy and unknown the world feels right now, there is actually a lot we can control.

We can control what goes into our mouth.

Last week I promised that I would talk about ways we can thrive physically in this time of uncertainty. We are going to start off by talking about what we eat.

Are you what you eat?

There is a lot of truth in the saying “We are what we eat.” What we eat either positively or negatively affects our short term energy and our long term health. Most people that I know, myself included, don’t have a great relationship with food. I have known many people over the years that restrict what they eat because it gives them a sense of control. I have known many others that overeat not because they are hungry, but because of a certain emotion like boredom, loneliness or grief. I could probably write a whole series on people’s emotional connection with food, but we will save that for another time. 

Today we are going to get practical. 

Over the years as a personal trainer I have picked up some helpful tips. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain weight or even gain – hopefully these tips will help you develop a more healthy relationship with food. 

10 ways to have a more healthy relationship with food.

  1. For one week, write down EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth. Keep a small note pad on your desk or in your purse. Or keep a note open on your phone so you can write down what you eat right away. If you don’t write it down right away, you won’t write it down. Trust me. DON’T OMIT ANYTHING, no one is going to read it but you. After the week is over, look it over. Honestly, most people are surprised how much they actually eat and drink in a week. Based on what you see, ask yourself “Are there any changes you should make?”
  1. Remember that it is okay to be hungry. Our bodies adapt to our weight and signal us to eat (through hunger) in order to maintain our current weight. As Americans, we tend to be afraid to be hungry. If you have recently eaten and have eaten enough, yet still feel hungry, let yourself be hungry. You will be okay. I promise. It’s okay to be hungry. It doesn’t take long for your body to adjust. Before you know it those hunger pangs will be a thing of the past.
  1. Remember sometimes when you feel hungry, you could just be thirsty. Outside of meal times, if you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. Then, if you are still hungry, grab a healthy snack to eat. 
  1. Instead of focusing on getting rid of certain foods, focus on adding more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (It’s easier than you think, half of a banana is a serving. The internet is full of serving size charts). Having that being your goal will switch your mindset from dieting to healthy eating.
  1. When you find yourself eating outside of mealtimes, ask yourself – “Why am I eating this?” All of us emotionally eat. It starts at a young age. I am currently trying to teach my 12 year old daughter about emotional eating.  Are you eating because you are bored? Sad? Mad? Overwhelmed? Ask yourself, Are those good reasons to be eating?
  1. Make your calories count. I don’t really like cake, so I don’t usually eat it. Don’t eat something just because it is in front of you or because it is offered to you. Before you eat a treat, ask yourself, is this worth the calories? Most of the time when I am out I pass on dessert. I do that not because I won’t have dessert, but because I would rather save my calories for a better dessert later.
  1. Remember that liquid calories count. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but special coffee drinks have A LOT of calories in them. Alcohol does too. I have known people to lose a significant amount of weight by just giving up their daily lattes or cutting back on their alcohol intake. 
  1. Just because you make one bad eating decision, doesn’t mean you have to have a bad eating day. In so many areas of our lives when we mess up or make a bad decision, we tend to throw in the towel and give up for the day. One bad decision doesn’t have to equal a bad day. If you mess up and eat too many chips, pause and commit to making a better decision at dinner. 
  1. If you are the praying type, pray for self control. One of the fruits of the spirit is self control. Pray that God will help you make wise decisions about what you eat. 
  1. Remind yourself why it matters in the first place. It matters what we eat because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. It matters because when we take care of ourselves we can fully walk out God’s calling on our life. 

Next week I will share a few more practical tips about how we can take care of our body – stay tuned!

Because there is more,

Lisa

Quarantine 15.

How do we thrive in this season of uncertainty?

It’s amazing how quickly words can be introduced and integrated into our daily vocabulary. Four months ago I had never heard the term “Shelter in place” or “Coronavirus”. I had never used the word quarantine in a sentence before. Now those words seem to be as common as the air we breathe. A new term has started to trend, “Quarantine 15”. It’s being compared to the “Freshman 15”, the 15 pounds that freshmen in college tend to gain during their first year of college. Instead of referring to the 15 pounds usually gained as a freshman, Quarantine 15 is referring to the pounds gained (or are currently being gained) during the early months of Covid 19.

It’s real. I can’t say that I have personally gained 15 pounds, but I get it. My emotions have been all over the place. When I am feeling off, it takes very little convincing that I am entitled to eat whatever I want. I don’t have to look far for the reason. Covid. Enough said. 

If you don’t know me personally, you may not know that I am also a personal trainer. I have been a personal trainer for over 10 years now. I am not currently practicing, but I have worked with every type of person you could imagine. A majority of my clients come to me wanting to lose weight. Oftentimes they come to me with a list of fad diets and exercise routines they have tried. Certain programs have worked for them for a season, but ultimately they end up back at square one. What I have learned over time is that no program or specific diet is going to work long term until the person internalizes their ‘why’. 

Lisa, why are you talking about fad diets again?

You bring up a very valid question. I bring this up because I believe that in order to thrive in this season of uncertainty we have to take care of our bodies. And we won’t do that until we have a compelling “why”. 

It starts by remembering who we belong to. 

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20.

Our bodies belong to God.

If you are not walking with Jesus, this can be a weird and mystical concept to follow. Let’s be honest, even if you are following Jesus, this can be a tough concept to fully understand. Let me give you a little history lesson that can hopefully help. 

God has always wanted to amongst his people.

“Beginning in the Old Testament (OT) book of Exodus, the tabernacle was a place for God to dwell among his people. He gave Israel detailed instructions for how to build it (1445 BC). He designed it so that they could tear it down, carry it around, and set it back up as they traveled through the wilderness.” (Shepherd thoughts). When the Israelites moved, he moved with them. 

After the tabernacle, God dwelt in two different temples (at different times). I won’t bore you with too much history and details, but it is important to note that these temples were considered to be holy places. People would come to these temples to experience the presence of God. 

Then Jesus came. God in the flesh, dwelt amongst his people. 

When Jesus was about to leave His disciples and ascend into heaven, He said “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate (Holy Spirit) to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:6

When we make a decision to invite Jesus into our life, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us. God is not just amongst us, he is in us.

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

There are many chapters in the Old Testament that are dedicated to giving specific and special instructions to the Isrealites about how to construct the places in which God chose to dwell. They were considered the most holy of holy places. People dedicated their whole lives to the construction and preservation of the places in which God dwelt. 

We are called to do the same. We are called to treat our bodies, the dwelling place of the most high, with the utmost respect and care. We need to make sure that God’s dwelling place is fit for the king. 

That’s really powerful and beautiful, isn’t it?

But no matter how much I love this truth, I have found, both in my own life and in others that I have worked with, that this concept alone is too abstract to truly motivate change.  

So what does? Let’s keep digging. 

After we are reminded of who we belong to, we then need to be reminded of something else. 

Our calling. Our purpose.

No matter who you are or who you follow, we all have a desire and need to make a difference in our world. And whether you call it a calling or something else, I think we can all agree that each one of us was created with a unique skill set and that we all have a unique role to play in this world. 

We are not able to walk out the fullness of God’s calling on our life unless we take care of ourselves physically.

And although it may feel like it, your calling doesn’t change when your circumstances change. It just might look a little different. Covid didn’t change your calling, only God can change your calling.

Are you called to be a teacher? In order to be the teacher God created you to be, you need to have endurance, energy and a clear mind. 

Are you called to work with your hands? In order to create the beautiful things that God has in store for you, you must have the strength the project requires of you.

Are you called to be a parent? You need every advantage available to have the energy, strength, endurance and creativity to be the parent God is calling you to be. 

My guess is that a lot of people that are reading this already know these things. A lot of us know that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. A lot of us realize that we are missing out on the fullness of God’s calling on our lives. 

So how do we go from just knowing these things to putting these truths into practice? 

It may sound weird, but start by praying. Pray that God will give you a new revelation of the purpose and the importance of taking care of our bodies. Ask God to convict your heart for not treating your body with the respect it deserves. 

And then stay tuned. Next week we are going to get practical. Small changes equal big changes over time. I’m excited to share some practical tips with you about how to take care of your body. 

Quarantine 15 is a choice, and so is thriving in uncertainty. Let’s commit to thriving in this time of uncertainty.

Because there is more,

Lisa

How do we thrive in this season of uncertainty?

We would all agree that 2020 has been rough. I feel like each time I start to catch my breath and establish any sense of routine, something happens. I get knocked down, lose my standing and have to gasp for breath. I have felt this way on all levels. We have the obvious: Covid-19, civil unrest and division in the government – just to name a few. Then there are the more personal things. I have an anxious kid who lost out on her last few months of elementary school, who often expresses her grief through anger directed at me. I’m an active extrovert who is also autoimmune. I’ve struggled with not working and being at home, yet not wanted to expose myself unnecessarily to an unknown disease.

But oddly enough, in the midst of it all, I have thrived in ways that I never had before. 

My plan (which as 2020 has taught us, could easily be derailed) is to spend the next several weeks talking about how we can thrive through this season of uncertainty. I am going to share a few things that have worked for me. I’m going to get practical. I’m going to get spiritual. It may feel like I’m all over the map. But at the heart of it all is this simple question –how can we thrive in this season of uncertainty

So where do we start?

We must live with the end in mind. 

I have heard it said that all important life lessons are learned in Kindergarten. For me, I have learned most of my important life lessons through running. I was a cross country running coach for several years. Before the races would begin I would always remind my runners, don’t start out too fast. At the end of the race, you will not remember how you started – you will remember how you finish.

You may cringe at the idea of running a block, but take a moment and join me. Imagine a group of runners at the starting line. The gunshot goes off and the runners are off. Most of the girls stay in the pack. But there are a few that are ahead right from the beginning. You recognize a few of the girls that are leading the pack, but there are a couple newbies – girls you haven’t noticed before. At about mile 1, those new girls are still ahead of the pack, but you notice that their form has changed. They are winded. They are gasping for air. They begin to slow down. By mile 2, those new girls are no longer in front of the pack. But you notice someone new coming up from the rear. They aren’t in first place, but are definitely breaking free from the pack. By mile 3, that girl that came up from behind is nearing the fastest runner. The crowds are cheering loudly, cheering them on to the end. What will those girls remember from that experience? They will remember how they finished, not how they began. 

We don’t remember how we start the race, we remember how we finish.  

Do you remember social media in March? Wasn’t it beautiful? It was full of words of encouragement. Every other post was about how we are in this together. People were posting ideas about how to keep your kids entertained and sane as we sheltered in place. Encouraging words were shared with abundance. I was so proud to be a human. I felt like we were actually in this together. When is the last time you have seen an encouraging post similar to those in March? There have been times when I want to post something along those lines, but it hasn’t felt right. I’m not confident that those words are true anymore.

Friends, we started this race well. But at our current pace, we are not on track to finish well. And just like a running race, when we look back at this time, we will not look back and remember how we started – we will look back and remember how we finished. 

We need to ask, “How do we want to remember this season?”

Back in March when this all began, I posed the question “How do you want to remember this season?” I think it is a good time for all of us, myself included, to revisit that question now that we have spent some time in the trenches. In that post I shared a few things I wanted to remember about this time. I wanted to remember it as a time that I had the time and energy to do an intense 90 day workout program. I completed it, the whole 90 days. I shared that I wanted to be more present with my kids. I haven’t been perfect, but I’ve done better. There are a few other things I shared in that post that I am working on and things that I have yet to accomplish. But because I was thoughtful about this season, in those moments when I feel knocked down and struggle to catch my breath, I can look back on my progress and feel proud. I haven’t just survived this season of uncertainty, I have thrived in ways I never have before. 

As I share these things, don’t be deceived, this has been a tough season for me in many ways. But I’m learning that it’s not just one or the other – surviving or thriving. There can be areas in our life where we barely make it, yet in the same space we can be growing and thriving in ways that we have never done before. 

There is good news. It’s not too late.

It’s true, we have already started the race. Maybe we started off a bit too fast and are finding ourselves having to pause and take a breath. It may not feel like it, but the good news is that the race is not yet over. There is still time to catch your breath, adjust your pace, imagine the finish line and finish strong. We not may not win, but in the end that doesn’t really matter.  

What matters is that when you cross that finish line, you can hold your head up high knowing you did the absolute best you could. 

And I don’t know about you, but that is what I want to remember about this season.

Because there is more,

Lisa