Guest Post: Holiday Stress Busters

Hey Everyone! Hope you’re having a great day! Can’t wait to recap some of my Caribbean experience for you, but until then, Voracious Vorilee is here to share with you some of her tips on how to beat the holiday stress before it beats us!

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Hi there! My name is Deva and I blog about food, health, and fun at Voracious Vorilee. I thought that I would share with you some of my favorite ways to destress, especially because I find a lot of people get stressed out during the holidays, even as they are full of cheer, togetherness, baking, and fun. We all need to take a moment and breath this time of year, and here are just a few of my favorite ways to take a step back and do just that, whether it’s during the holidays or year-round.

1. Go for a walk. I am an active person, and sometimes I forget that moving my body keeps my mind fresh. If you find that you’re stressing out, take a step back, pull on your coat (if you need one!), and go for a walk to stretch your legs and clear your head. You can even make a game of it by seeing how many decorated homes you come across, or see what shapes you can find in the clouds. Take a deep breath and go outside – everything will still be there for you when you get back.

2. Play a game. Right before Thanksgiving, I was frantically trying to get things packed and cleaned up so that I could go visit my family and come home to a tidy apartment. When I realized that I needed to stop and breathe, I sat down with my Rock Band guitar controller and ROCKED OUT for a half an hour to destress and recenter myself. It worked wonderfully, and I spent the rest of my time cleaning and getting ready goofing off, instead of worrying about it being perfect. Why not sit down to a game if you’re finding that you’re getting stressed out – it’s a nice way to break things up and to come back to your tasks with a clear head. You can play video games, card games, Apples to Apples, or even Where’s Waldo – they’re all fun and easy to get into, and we all know that playing games isn’t just for kids.

3. Don’t worry about the small stuff. So what if you forgot the chocolate chips in the cookies, or didn’t put a bow on all of the presents. Nobody will notice, and if anyone does, they probably don’t care – they are happy that you took the time and effort to make something nice. If you start to worry about the little things, stop and look at the big picture – whether it’s everyone in your extended family coming together, or the look on someone’s face when they open up the gift you got them. Cookies can be eaten with or without chips (just add frosting and sprinkles), and gifts don’t have to have bows.

4. Eat Dessert! I love dessert, especially pie and ice cream – both of which are abundant at holiday celebrations. Many of us worry about how that slice of pie or extra scoop of ice cream will effect our waistlines, stressing about overeating. I say don’t worry about it and enjoy it. Savor the pecan pie your grandma makes or the pumpkin pie that your mom only fixes at the holidays. if it’s something you love, eat it and enjoy every bite, without worrying about going overboard.

Don’t let the frenzy of the holiday sress you out. Take a step back to enjoy the time with your family, the lit trees and houses, and the smell of warm spices wafting from your kitchen. Whether you do this by medidating, eating dessert by the tree, or rocking out with your family around the TV, have fun during the holidays. They only come once a year, and regardless of what you celebrate, have a happy and stress-free holiday season.

Guest Post: Living with Diabetes

Hey everyone! While I’m off frolicking in the Caribbean, my dad, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, agreed to write a Clif Notes version of what it was like being told, and how it’s affected him. Take it away, Dad!

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I never imagined that I would ever be a guest blogger for a fitness and food blog…..

When I was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago, I was totally stunned. Sure, I knew I was a few pounds overweight and didn’t always eat the most nutritious foods, but I had never had a serious illness. I hadn’t even had a cold for the past three years and had never been hospitalized in my 62 years.

I had lots of plans for my retirement years and left the doctor’s office feeling as though I had been told my life was almost over. In addition to the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, my doctor suggested that I needed to reduce and re-balance my cholesterol levels, lower my blood pressure, and lose weight…… I had already been unsuccessful at accomplishing those recommendations.

In retrospect, this distressing news was probably a blessing because it made me take the disease seriously. I started by forcing a positive attitude that I hoped I could pass on to the rest of my family when my diagnosis was shared. At that stage, I knew little about diabetes other than the horror stories we’ve all heard about the complications. I started my quest for information; I searched internet sites, I bought books, and subscribed to periodicals that were dedicated to this disease called type 2 diabetes.

The good news that I discovered was that diabetes is one of the few incurable, progressive diseases that can be largely controlled by the patient. During the early months following my diagnosis, I was consumed with implementing life-changing events aimed at taking control; Splenda became my best friend, I counted carbs with every bite, and developed a daily exercise routine (the toughest thing for me.) Within three months I had shed fifty-four pounds, dropped my blood pressure by 20 points, and achieved an enviable cholesterol level. AND, I felt good and had higher energy levels that I had experienced in years.

Today, my disdain for exercise has turned to anticipation (taking Niko for long, brisk walks when we dog-sit, is one of my favorites.

 

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My low sugar, controlled carb, diet is now routine (although I still occasionally crave fried chicken and mashed potato’s/gravy.) Along with daily meds and glucose monitoring, my diabetes has responded well and seems to be under control.

I, somewhat belatedly, recognize the value and benefits of healthy living, and always look forward to the delicious, healthy snacks that Paige brings me on her visits home.

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Thanks, Dad!

 

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Wednesday?

Do you or anyone you know have diabetes? How has it affected your life?

Guest Post: Nutrition for Healthy Training

Hey, hey everyone! By now I’m somewhere in the Caribbean ocean, prancing around with dolphins and what not. I’ll be here to tell you all about it really soon, but in the meantime, Katherine, from the Runner Wife has a great article on how to eat healthfully when training for an event 🙂

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Hello RAN readers! I’m Katherine, the RunnerWife. First of all, I have to thank Paige for giving me the chance to guest post about a topic near and dear to my heart. Hope you’re having a fabulous cruise, dearest!

The topic that means so much to me is FOOD. Not just food, but the best food for race training. I don’t purport to be a nutritionist, but I hope my personal experience can provide a bit of insight into your own meal planning while training.

A bit of background: I started exercising in 2005 after I finished graduate school and got a full-time desk job. I started with the elliptical machine and stairclimber and finally got up the guts to try my hand at the “dreadmill.” I started by running for 2 minutes and then walking 1. Gradually, running became more comfortable, my pace improved and I hit the pavement for outdoor running. By late summer 2006, a friend and I were joking that we should run a marathon someday. Apparently, she wasn’t really joking because she found a link to a half marathon being held that November and, before I knew it, we were lacing up our shoes for 5, 8 and 10 mile runs. I’d never trained for anything before and the only guide I followed provided my weekly mileage requirements.

Not surprisingly, the combination of nerves about the impending race and my increased exercise caused me to lose a good bit of weight. In fact, I dropped from 130 in July to 114 by race day. Whoops! I also got a nasty cold the day after the half mary that stuck with me for almost two weeks. My muscles were toast, my lungs were angry, and I felt lousy.

When I signed up for two more half marathons that spring (March and May 2007), I vowed to take better care of my body. I had lofty time goals to achieve and a wedding to plan at the same time so I knew I’d need to be in top form to be the super woman I’d promised myself. The lessons I learned that winter have been absolutely invaluable and they’ve nourished my mind and body through six half marathons and two full marathons (not to mention a fabulous winter season of 5k neighborhood races (with beer!), turkey trots, trail runs, 10ks in Quantico, and more.) So, without further ado, please find my top 5 nutrition tips for health training:

1. Keep a running/food log

This tip covers several bases. Not only will you start to see trends of energy level in relation to certain foods, but you’ll also be able to track your intake in relation to mileage so you don’t end up with too much of an excess or deficit. Above all, I encourage you to honor your hunger signals, but keeping a log will prove to be incredibly helpful.

2. Maximize pre- and post-run nutrition

Like I said before, I’m not a nutritionist and there are tons of resources and even more opinions on what you should/should not eat whether you are training or not. Instead of telling you exactly what to eat, I’ll tell you what works for me. The following is my diet assuming I have a long run or race on Saturday:

Friday

No dairy, no alcohol. Larabar or oatmeal in AM and salad with nuts and seeds or chicken for lunch. Snacks include fresh fruit and trail mix.

Dinner: 4oz. organic chicken sautéed in olive oil served over 1 cup whole wheat penne with fresh tomato sauce made of fresh and sundried tomatoes simmered with fresh basil, salt, pepper and oregano. Dinner is eaten by 9pm.

Saturday

6am: wakeup, eat larabar, drink 10oz. water

8am: RUN! (I drink water and eat Gu during runs and races – 1 Gu every 4 miles)

Immediately post-run: Banana with peanut butter and at least ½ L water

Post-run lunch (eaten within 1 hour of run): Sandwich with whole grain bread and whatever fixin’s I crave – usually cheese, hummus and greens – and soup. More water.

The basic goal I shoot for is a healthy balance of carbs/fat/protein both the night before and after my run. My morning larabar provides simple sugars as well as good fats and complex carbs that will keep me full longer and won’t upset my stomach. The post-run banana gives my muscles a quick shot of simple carbs from a natural source and starts the recovery process.

3. Clean up your diet

In addition to the extra focus I place on my pre- and post-run meals, I find that my diet is generally much cleaner when I’m training for a race. That is, abstaining from fatty, processed foods is definitely a no-no the night before race day, but it’s also unlikely they’ll appear on my plate much at all until well after the race. That said, no one is perfect. Sometimes, I crave unhealthy foods, but that’s life! I’ve found that a large part of self care is giving my body good whole foods that help it run efficiently whether I’m running 20 miles or watching 20 minutes of TV.

4. Listen to your body

As your mileage increases, you may find that your body responds better to some foods than others. I found that dairy aggravated my stomach on runs longer than about eight miles. Lots of people have trouble with high fiber meals. Keep your food/running log nearby and look out for any meals that have you running to a gas station!

5. If it ain’t broke…

As race day approaches, you might be tempted to tinker around with your diet. Maybe you’ve had oatmeal every morning before a long run but your friend swears by bagels with almond butter. As much as you might want to try her breakfast, try it after the race! Whatever you do in the last few weeks before your race, don’t change your food routine. Your body is going to be pushed to its limits soon, so don’t put it through any undue stress by introducing new foods, or loading up on something you don’t normally eat (white pasta, included). If you do, you run the risk of sidelining yourself with some pretty nasty muscle or stomach cramps. I’ve even been known to bring all of my race day food with me to my destination (hello jar of peanut butter in my suitcase on the flight to San Francisco) to be sure I knew what I’d be eating.

Remember that what you eat might not be right for someone else and what someone else eats might not be right for you. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you don’t have to eat meat to be a healthy runner. (Go Matt, Caitlin and Megan!) If you love cheese and it doesn’t bother your stomach, enjoy! And if you have a tough run or a bad race, just remember it’s not the end of the world. Run, first and foremost, because you love it. If you have one rough race, just think of all the good ones you have to look forward to in years to come!!

Oversleeping and Guest Blogging

Talk about having a hard time waking up! I knew I had already overslept was consciously on my third alarm this morning, so I couldn’t go back to sleep. I kept myself awake by just wiggling my toes and fingers for a while, and not letting myself stop and fall asleep until I gradually awoke. It was quite the process, let me tell you.

Seven minutes of toe wiggling, blinking, and stretching later, I was making my way to the coffee pot. It’s so strange how our bodies have to gradually wake themselves up before being able to function (unless of course awoken by a startle.)

Last night’s dinner was somewhat successful. I made lemon herb tilapia, garlic bread, and lemon herb rice.

The verdict:

Tilapia=fantastic!
Rice=way too lemony
Garlic Bread=way too garlic salty

Hey, I’m learning. What can I say? The meal was followed by some Annie’s Bunny Graham’s and a little Enterouge.

In other exciting news, check out Angela’s blog at Oh She Glows a little after lunch time for a guest post by yours truly! I’m so excited to be a guest of her blog, and will be talking about how to deal with comments that could be potentionally sabotaging to your healthy lifestyle.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!