Tag Archives: health

Intrigued by Plexus

11 Jul

One of my friends here in Brainerd lost 100 pounds using Plexus products in addition to exercising and eating right. But she also listed a bunch of other benefits as well, similar to the ones mentioned in this post from a blog I follow called Journey to the Finish Line:

Plexus Success.

Color me intrigued. I usually blow this kind of stuff off as hyped up and fad-ish. But this one… this one I think I might actually try.

A Word on Moderation in Food Fads

13 Aug

These days, it seems like eating healthy is no longer just as simple as eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lowfat dairy. It’s not even as simple as choosing organic. It’s about food that is “sustainably raised”, “raw”, “sprouted”, “free range” and “unpasteurized”. There are supplements like wheat grass and hempseed, drinks like kombucha, and companies like Advocare that have 200 “nutrition” products that will make you feel like a million bucks.

It’s enough to cause a nervous breakdown for someone like me who wants to eat healthy but also doesn’t want to 1) Eat a bunch of foods I’ve never heard of before 2) Stop eating the foods I like and 3) Spend a bajillion dollars doing it. 

It may just be my strong dislike of anything even remotely resembling a bandwagon, but a lot of the food fads going around right now seem like just that – fads. They’ll be replaced by something else in 6 months and in 12 months, they’ll discover that they were wrong, and that food is actually bad for you. 

I’d be fine to just eat my dirty grapes and pasteurized cheese in silence and let the food-trend mayhem occur without my interference, except for one thing. The peddlers of the food-trend mayhem will not accept passivity. You’re either with them, or against them. You’re either eating healthy (like them), or feeding yourself and your family pure poison. It’s amazing we haven’t all died already.

Here’s what I propose: Go ahead and talk about the health benefits of whatever new thing you’re into. But don’t trash everything else that people have been eating for decades as absolutely horrible for you and wonder why anyone would eat that. You know why “we” eat that? Because we don’t want to spend $10 on 1 oz of cheese. Because I’d rather take my chances with non-organic grapes than not be able to afford them at all. Because I don’t want to spend 50% of my income on food. 

My angry tirade is actually a cover for feeling insecure and overwhelmed at thinking that I’m feeding my family crap by letting them eat regular whole wheat bread (NOT sprouted grain or ezekiel bread!!!) and Kemps milk and coffee creamer (not from a local farm!!!). Oh and I buy Foster Farms or Gold ‘n’ Plump chicken – we’re all going to DIE!!!!

Obviously, I exaggerate. But after reading some of the blogs and articles I do about healthy eating, that’s seriously how I feel. 

BUT IS IT TRUE?!?!?!

That’s the question I always come back to. Is all of this true? It’s really hard to know what to believe when many of the supposed “sources” of these “facts” are quite obviously writing from a huge bias. They are writing about what they themselves eat, and of course, it’s the best thing since juicing. And then there’s the fact that even medical professionals don’t always agree on this stuff.

Bringing faith into the picture, I know that if I tried to start eating all of the fads, it would be a reaction out of fear and not faith. It’s like with the Christian life – sure, you can serve in the Children’s Ministry at church, sing on the worship team, have people over for dinner every night, host a missionary family, volunteer at the local food shelter, and knit afghans for the pregnancy center. But are you called to? Just because other people are doing 1 or more of those things, does that mean you should do them all? No, it doesn’t. God leads everyone to do with their life what He calls them to do.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (1 Corinthians 7:17)

I believe that God has called me to a live of moderation. And that applies to what I eat. It may be that in time, I’ll come around to see that some of the foods that are trendy right now really are valuable, and start incorporating them into my diet. It may be that I’ll start buying more organic produce. But it’s just as likely that I’ll continue in my moderately healthy ways and buy traditional foods, like all-purpose flour and Wheat Thins. 

Because while I do believe that our bodies are gifts from God and we are called to be good stewards of them, for me it ends up being unhealthy in other ways to spend more time than I currently am thinking about what I’m eating. When I concentrate on it so much, it becomes an idol. And Jesus did say, “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:23) I’ve finally gotten back to my pre-pregnancy eating habits (and weight) and I’m feeling good. 

I would be amiss, however, to not mention that God has created some people to truly, deeply and passionately care about what they eat. And I do believe that you can be passionate about food without it being an idol. I just ask that they be passionate without condemning the choices of the rest of us. 😉

Training Recap: 1/30 – 2/5

6 Feb

I have a case of the Mondays today. I was so tired that I got up an hour late, I ate too much at the Super Bowl party last night so I feel like a blob, and I still haven’t quite shaken my sinus/throat congestion.

My training last week:

Monday: 3.0 mile run (37:36, 12:31/mile)

I did this run at a really easy pace because I was still recovering from the chest congestion of the previous week.

Tuesday: 6 x 400 repeats @ 2:30 on treadmill (3 miles total, 33:56); Physical therapy

I was going to do 4 x 800 but it wasn’t happening. So I did 6 x 400 instead and even though I was only running a 10:00 pace for my repeats, I felt challenged by the end. I blame the sickness.

I also count physical therapy as my strength training because I always end up sweating.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 1.15 mile dog walk (20:00); 2.4 mile run (28:00); 1.5 mile walk at incline on treadmill (24:00); 15 minute tabata workout

This was the night that I discovered I should not eat a salad before a run. I was planning to run 5 but could only muscle through to 2.4. I actually felt sick enough that I had to sit down and rest for 5 minutes. Ever the stubborn one, I finished off an unofficial 5 miles by walking 1.5 miles on the treadmill, starting at 2.0 incline, working up to 8.0 and back down.

My tabata workout (from what I remember) consisted of squats with overhead press, lunges with bicep curls, knee pushups, and bicycle crunches.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 11 mile run on track (1:58:36, 10:46/mile)

Sunday: 1.5 mile dog walk

I was going to do yoga when I got home from the Super Bowl party but instead, I went straight to bed. I’ll try to do a longer cross-training workout this Wednesday.

…………………………….

Even though I’m coughing and blowing my nose less each day, I still wake up feeling like poo. And since I have races the next two weekends (so I’m technically in taper mode now) and I would prefer to not start official marathon training still sick, these next two weeks are going to be fairly laid back – yoga, cross-training, hydration, sleep. Nothing too crazy.

And since this cheered me up on this Blah of a Monday, I had to share:

There are some other funny ones there too.

What is your favorite part of tapering before a race?

Mine is usually having time to do all the things I haven’t had time to do during training but since I just had an entire week of no running, I think the perk this time is having yet another reason to go to bed at 8 pm. 😉

I’m All Ears.

31 Jan

As a kid, I had a lot of ear infections. As an adult, I still do because I’m stuck in a Catch 22.

Because of all my ear infections growing up, I now have a condition they call Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. The Eustachian tube is what makes your ears pop to keep the pressure on the inside and outside of your ear the same.

Even though the Eustachian tube is always at work (it opens and closes with each yawn or swallow), most people only notice their ears pop when ascending/descending in altitude (like flying) or possibly when they have nasal congestion. But when your Eustachian tube malfunctions, it’s very obvious.

I started noticing it when I’d get a cold. My ears would pop a lot and I’d be able to hear my own voice inside my head (which is very weird, by the way). When the cold went away, so did the symptoms, for the most part. But that was in college when I never cooked anything besides turkey sandwiches and cereal, I lived in a house with 5 other girls, and spent a lot of time surrounded by other students – meaning I got sick a lot. (Travis still remarks about this, though I only get sick once every 18 months or so now.) It seemed like I was always sick in high school and college. So my ears were frequently bothering me.

Finally, I had had enough. It was miserable living that way. I went to the ear doctor and they made me do at least half a dozen hearing tests, in addition to looking in my ear with their lighted instrument. They asked, “Did you have a lot of ear infections as a kid?” Why yes, yes I did.

After all of that, they sat me down and said that I had Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. They described what it was and said that since my ears still popping (as opposed to being completely shut or completely open) and my hearing was still fine, I didn’t need surgery. But then they said something that made me almost cry.

“There’s not much we can do about it.”

What? You mean I have to live like this the rest of my life?!?!?

As I choked back tears, they explained that the only thing they could do was put in ear tubes, but they usually cautioned against that in adults because it could leave a permanent hole in my eardrum. Well, I didn’t want that. And ear tubes sounded creepy. So I just left, utterly disappointed.

That was about 7 years ago.

Today, my ears still pop every time I swallow but I’ve gotten used to it. And I am soooo incredibly thankful that the condition is just an annoyance, instead of one that would cause deafness or actual pain.

But the Catch 22 is that my Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which was caused by ear infections, is now causing ear infections. An article on Livestrong says:

In many cases, the Eustachian tubes are either too narrow or are blocked due to irregularities in the surrounding structures. For those individuals, frequent ear infections may recur due to the failure of the Eustachian tubes to drain the middle ear.

I’ve had so many ear infections that I can tell if I have one by just pushing on the outside of my ear. If it hurts, it’s infected. I go into the doctor and say, “Have ear infection. Need antibiotics.” (But they never believe me, so they get out their lighted instrument and stick it in my ear anyway.)

Right now, I have an ear infection. Every time I blow my nose, my ears pop and my right ear hurts. This time, instead of going to the doctor, I’m trying a natural remedy – garlic oil.

My friend Carrie told me about this (she uses it for her kids) and swears that it works. And because the Internet agrees, it must be true. I read here that garlic can cure ear infections because it has antibiotic properties. Who knew?

That same article gives this recipe for making garlic oil:

 

Things You’ll Need

 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 glass measuring cup, microwave safe
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • Cheesecloth
  • Small jar with lid
  • Eye dropper or syringe
  • Cotton balls
  1. Pour the olive oil in the glass measuring cup. Chop two peeled cloves of garlic and place in cup. Microwave the oil for about a minute. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the oil through a piece of cheesecloth to remove the garlic pieces. Place the oil in a covered jar and store it in the refrigerator. The oil will keep for about three weeks.
  3. To use the oil, place 1 tsp. over an open flame until lukewarm. Test the oil on the back of your hand to make sure it’s not too hot. Have the person lie down, infected ear up. Fill the dropper or syringe and put 1 or 2 drops of oil in the affected ear. Insert a cotton ball in the ear for 30 minutes. Repeat every 1 to 2 hours.

I did this last night but didn’t have a dropper and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right (and was too lazy to find out for sure). My ear feels a little better but still hurts so I will be doing this again tonight.

Have you had a lot of ear infections? Ever tried a natural remedy instead of antibiotics?

Back in Physical Therapy

11 Jan

After almost a year and a half hiatus, I’m back in physical therapy. Before, I was going for my IT band. Now, I’m going for my back.

This is one of those things that make me starkly aware that:

1. I’m getting older

2. I’m not invincible

3. My body will break if I treat it like crap

So sad. My mom often reminded me to stand up straight when I was younger. I brushed her off, saying that standing up straight made me look weird. That’s also what Quasimodo said, and look where it got him.

Since my ambitions are not to be a hunchback, I went to see a physical therapist at Rocky Mountain Spine & Sport (same chain I went to before, different location).

It’s snowing again in Denver!

The therapist was really nice and relaxed. I explained my symptoms. He checked the alignment/balance of my hips, spine, shoulders and legs and then said that my back most likely hurts because of sitting all day at work. Apparently, pain in the neck and lower back is pretty common in desk jockeys like me. In addition, I have a muscle imbalance in my lower back – one side is tighter than the other, which pulls on my spine.

So he proposed realigning my back this morning to alleviate the current pain. Then he’ll do Trigger Point Dry Needling next time I come in (which will be this Friday) to help release the tight muscles. I’m not going to lie – I’m a little freaked out by the idea of pain and needles. But I figure I’m too young to have chronic back pain and I’ve noticed it worsening over the past couple of months so I should probably just bite the $70-a-visit bullet.

He cracked my back and neck this morning and it was loud. It’s amazing the sound bones make. My neck and lower back feel a ton better but my whole back still doesn’t feel 100%. Is it supposed to? I’ve never had my back professionally cracked before so I don’t know!

When I got to work, I made some adjustments to my workstation to be more in line with this:

Instead of this:

Oh, slouching down in my chair with my legs propped up on my CPU isn’t considered good posture?

But seriously, I have done every single one of these.

I put a couple of paper organizer trays underneath my monitor to raise it up, moved it about 8 inches closer to my chair, raised my seat a couple of inches, and have been trying to remember to sit with my legs uncrossed. This has proven to be the hardest change. I sit with my legs crossed almost always, and when they’re not crossed, they’re either propped up, cross-legged, or I’m sitting on one of them. Sitting with both feet flat on the floor feels like standing in front of people with your arms at your side, doing nothing – awkward. It’s feels unnatural.

But alas, every source on the interwebs confirms that indeed, this is the correct posture for sitting at a desk. (Quasimodos excused.)

Do you have good posture? What’s your favorite way to sit?

My body is not my own.

17 Nov

A while ago, I mentioned that I was going through the book Love to Eat, Hate to Eat with a group of women from church. My first realization was that my body does not represent who I really am. I am not the sum of how I look. There is more to me. That reminder has been very helpful over the last month, whenever I was tempted to think I should be skinnier.

But the past couple of weeks, I’ve swung the other way by letting myself eat whatever I want. I’m still eating mostly healthy with whole grains, lowfat dairy and fruits and veggies, but I’m also eating a bunch of extra crap – some Hershey’s kisses here, a cupcake there, a couple pieces of cornbread before dinner, a slice of ice cream cake from the break room. While I am in favor of diet freedom because I obsess less about food when I allow myself to eat whatever I am truly craving, these extras aren’t cravings – just convenient. I eat them because they’re right in front of me. I guess I wouldn’t mind a piece of cake right now.

Whenever behaviors like this go on for weeks at a time, they end up becoming habits. My habit becomes grabbing any sweet sitting out, instead of saying no to the “meh” ones. I eat a snack before dinner, even though the actual meal will be ready in 30 minutes. I have both wine and ice cream after dinner, instead of choosing one.

I realized this morning that these habits come out of my not recognizing that my body is not my own. I have been blessed with a genuine desire to eat (mostly) healthy and stay active so it’s never really been that much of a battle to take care of my body. Sure, I get off track now and then but I usually get back to healthy habits after a week or so because I honestly like it. But when I do get in funks like my current one, where I find myself eating more sweets and carbs than normal, I just brush it off saying, “This isn’t that big of a deal. I’ll get back on track soon enough.”

I started thinking, what if I did that with money? I’ll just splurge on this and that and next week I’ll get back on my budget. The consequences of my actions would still be around next week. Or what about with unhelpful books or movies? I’ll just watch Sex and the City this one time. The mental pictures don’t disappear the minute I turn the TV off.

Because I know that about money and unhelpful books and movies, I avoid them. I just don’t even go there. And I don’t feel restricted by not living beyond my means or watching inappropriate shows. I feel more free because I’m not encumbered by all the temptations and consequences that go along with those things.

Why is eating any different?

I know that I feel better and don’t think about my body image/weight/food as much when I’m exercising self-control and eating wisely. I know that eating a bunch of sugar in one day makes me feel gross. So why do I do it?

I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t look at the consequences of eating poorly as being a big deal. Sure, I don’t feel the best when I eat too much food or too much sugar but the next morning, I eat some oatmeal, I go workout and I’m back to feeling pretty good. Easily solved, right?

But I forget that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When I go to church, I treat the facility and furniture with respect because it’s God’s house. I don’t pour garbage all over the floor and write on the walls, saying “Don’t worry. I’ll clean this up later. You’ll never even know.” Those behaviors would be disrespectful. In the same way, filling my body full of garbage that I’m not really enjoying but eating “just because” is treating my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, disrespectfully. If I lived in the acknowledgment that my body is not my own because I was bought at a price, I believe my approach to eating would be different.

I do believe in balance and that God has given us delicious foods, including sweets and alcohol, to enjoy in moderation. But I know that when I eat too many of them, my enjoyment of them diminishes. Because they’re no longer a special treat – just a daily sugar bomb.

So just as I have been reminding myself that my body does not represent who I really am when I am tempted to base my worth on appearance, I am going to try to remind myself that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit when faced with poor food choices. “Your body is not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Lord, help me to treat my body in a way that glorifies You as the only One that satisfies and that gives me life and joy, as well as energy and health for living with vitality. Health is an amazing gift and I thank You for it – help me to not to take it for granted or squander it on things that don’t satisfy.

 …………………………..

In other news, I signed up to participate in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2011 that starts this Saturday. (For the details, follow the challenge hyperlink.) Hopefully this will give me that extra kick of motivation to keep going on my training plan!

What helps you strike a balance in your eating habits?

Finding God in a cold

19 Sep

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Being sick makes me whiny. Self-pitying. Lazy. Indulgent. Compromising.

I sleep in instead of reading the Bible – because “only sleep will help me get better.”

I don’t pray because if I don’t have the energy for a “real” prayer, it doesn’t actually count.

I hunker down in my own little world, waiting for the sickness to blow over.

“Once I’m better, I’ll get back to normal life.”

Then this verse hit me this morning:

“And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your  bones strong…” (Isaiah 58:11).

Being sick makes me feel like I’m in a scorched place. A place where I don’t enjoy being awake. A place where I really dislike having to go to work.

God can satisfy me even here.

I had categorized sickness apart from trials. But in reality, sickness is a trial. And if I let all the little trials of this life drive me from God, I won’t be near God very much.

Once again, God is showing me that I need to draw near to Him in times of need, based solely on my Savior’s blood. I don’t need to earn His blessing through my prayers. I can’t earn His blessing.

The question isn’t whether I’m spending time in the Word instead of sleeping, or reading Christian books instead of watching TV, or praying for others instead of for myself while I’m sick. The question is: am I still pursuing God?

Most of the time, the answer is no.

Pursuing God feels like work. It feels like something I need energy for. Something that needs to be done all-or-nothing style. I’d rather just lay on the couch and not think.

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).

God does not set unrealistic standards for me, like I do for myself. I’m the one giving the guilt trip. I’m the one saying that it’s all or nothing.

God says that whatever I have to give is enough. He wants my constant affection, not my perfectionism.

Anytime my perfectionism keeps me from going to God, a red flag should go up. There are no obstacles to God in Christ.

None. Not sickness. Not death. Not failure. Not sin.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, not things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Keeping an Eternal Perspective: Health

4 Aug

I was listening to a sermon by Tim Keller the other day about idols and epidesires (“over desires,” from the Greek word epithemia). Keller defined them as anything that if you lost it, would make you not want to live.

My initial reaction was “I’m not attached to anything that strongly,” since I’ve read his book Counterfeit Gods in which he illustrates this point with examples of CEOs and CFOs that committed suicide after the stock market tanked in 2008. I am definitely not attached to money, fame or success like that.

But since I admit my status as a sinner and try to catch myself when I start thinking I’m “above” anything, I thought about this idea more. There had to be something in my life that was an epidesire.

And then I figured it out: my health.

I love being active. I spend many hours a week exercising. Travis and I like to do active things together. If I stop being active for even a week, I feel like a blob and am itching to get back at it.

I also have to admit that I love being a healthy weight. I can easily find clothes in my size, I (for the most part) like the way I look, and can wear a bikini with just a smidge of self-consciousness. (I don’t think I’d be human if I had none!)

One of my biggest motivators for staying active and eating healthy, though, is the desire to avoid major health issues and be able to hike and run when I’m 70 (like I see so many elderly people doing out here in Colorado!). I don’t want to have diabetes or take 20 minutes to walk 10 feet. I want to run around with my grandchildren, go swimming at the lake, and enjoy life!

So, what if all that changed? What if I had to take a medication that caused me to gain 20, or 50, pounds? What if I got into an accident and lost the use of my legs? What if I got breast cancer, like so many other women do, and had to have a complete mastectomy?

Would I still want to live?

Would I still rejoice at life and be joyful? Or would I pity myself? Based on my track record, I’m guessing the latter.

Like everything in life, there’s a line between health being a good thing, and it being an ultimate thing. That’s what Tim Keller is getting at when he talks about epidesires. It’s good to want to be healthy, to be good stewards of our bodies through diet and exercise, and to be consistently mindful of those things. God created our bodies to function best when they’re used through physical activity and fed with natural foods.

But it’s easy for health to turn into an ultimate thing. How many sleep-deprived mornings have made me angry, assuming that my lack of sleep was going to make me sick? How many days does my harsh assessment of my body shape make me feel depressed and unhappy? How many times have I felt superior to people who aren’t healthy and in shape?

The truth is, we’re not in control of our health. We can direct its general course, but God has the ultimate say. One of our friends (who I have mentioned on here before) was a non-smoker but just got diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Life — and our health — are fragile.

Same thing with body shape — we can keep our weight at a healthy level and develop muscle by strength training. But we can’t alter our body shape. That was determined by God when He knit us together in the womb. (Something I need to be reminded about often!)

Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t a get-out-of-cancer-free card. It’s not a guarantee from God that we’re never going to get sick, be hospitalized, or lose the use of some of our faculties. Our bodies are like the rest of the world: falling apart. This whole world is falling apart. It wasn’t meant to last.

I sometimes get frustrated at the transient nature of things. Happy moments don’t last. A clean house doesn’t last. The pristine condition of something new doesn’t last. Everything ends, falls apart, breaks, or gets beat up. That’s the nature of the world we live in.

I am learning to let those frustrations push me into the glorious hope of heaven, “where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal,” instead of into a bitter mood or cynical outlook. Because of what Christ has done, when we find a new wrinkle, or lumps where before there were none, or we don’t have the endurance or speed or flexibility we once had, instead of lamenting our demise into old age, we can glory in our hope of being raised with imperishable bodies. I’ll end with this extended quote from 1 Corinthians 15:

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body… The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Back from Eating…er, Vacation

1 Aug

Travis and I got back last night at 11:30 from our week-long extravaganza in Minnesota. We are exhausted and stuffed.

I will give a full update, complete with photos, later this week when I have rested up and am thinking clearly again. Right now, I’d like to talk about the thing that I always do way too much of on vacation: eating.

If you look back on my post about healthy eating, you can see that I like to eat a little bit all day long. I don’t do big meals.

Well unfortunately for me, both Travis’ and my families do.

Here’s the typical rundown for meals:

Breakfast: french toast, sausage, fruit, coffee, milk

Lunch: sandwiches, fruit, lettuce salad, chips

Dinner: pork chops, beans, fruit, cooked veggies, chips

I’ve read that you eat more when you have more options. That’s why you can’t walk out of a buffet without feeling like you’re going to puke (that, and perhaps some health code violations). I am the poster eater of this fact. Seriously, lunch time would roll around and even though I was just barely hungry, or not hungry at all, I’d still eat. What if I get hungry later when no one else is eating? What will I do then? were the thoughts running through my head. Then there were the copious amounts of mini candy bars, licorice, and pop I consumed just because I was on vacation. Calories don’t count then, right?

Another kicker was that while I had the ambition and desire to workout on vacation, there were 2 hiccups: 1) I felt guilty spending time working out instead of being with Travis’ or my family. and 2) The deer flies were horrible. I did 2 miles on our first morning there and got 10-12 bites on my back, which turned into lovely red bumps. It was a good look for a strapless dress at a wedding.

All that to say, it’s no surprise that I have returned to my “normal” life feeling the Goodyear blimp. I am SO ready to be back to healthy eating, normal portions, and consistent exercise. The only thing I had energy for last night when we got home was to carry all our stuff in the house, drop it and go to bed. So tonight will be spent unpacking, doing laundry and going grocery shopping and then tomorrow, I’ll get back on the workout wagon. The Steamboat Oly Tri is less than a month away!

Stay tuned for a guest post from Lisa of Cow Spots and Tales tomorrow!

Save the Suave

21 Jul

As a person interested in health and fitness, I consistently try to improve my daily habits to promote my health. I’ve already done that with drinking 64 oz of water daily (still going strong!) and trying to maintain the balance between training and the rest of life. My latest focus has been on not washing my hair every day.

Here’s the dish on my hair:

  • It’s color-treated (from a box) to be slightly blonder than natural.
  • It’s naturally pin straight.
  • I get it cut every 6 months, usually going from shoulder length to chin length and back again.
  • I often get the comment at salons that my hair is thin but I have “a lot of it.”
  • I also get the comment that my hair is “very healthy” — since I use Pantene or Suave shampoo, [used to] wash, blow-dry and curl my hair daily, and only get it cut every 6 months, this comment usually makes me feel rather smug for thwarting the system of expensive shampoos, hair treatments and the like.

Even though my hair has always tended to be on the drier side and as such, has never really necessitated daily washings, I couldn’t fathom not washing my hair. I feared waking up with the hair that is just slightly greasy enough that you can tell it needs to be washed. I also enjoy a clean head and the smell of just-shampooed hair.

An additional objection I had to this notion of not washing my hair everyday was that I exercise a lot and I get really sweaty. I was trying to be considerate of those around me by washing my hair after every workout (some days I even washed my hair twice).

But then one day at work, I was talking with some of my female co-workers about a blog called My Yellow Sandbox. Abby, whose blog it is, only washes her every “fourish” days. Apparently, washing your hair every day makes it drier (because you’re washing out the natural oils your scalp produces that are good for your hair). She even says that the less you wash your hair, the less greasy it will be.

That was pretty intriguing to me. Less greasy the less I wash it? I’ll try it!

And you know what? I’m a believer. Here is photo evidence of me going 3 days with washing my hair once (I don’t think I could go 4 or more like Abby, because of the whole buckets-of-sweat thing).

This is my strategy:

Day 1

Wash and blow dry hair. Style with curling iron or flatiron; minimal product (as in none). Leave hair down.

Day 2

{Disclaimer: I went swimming and got my hair wet this morning so I wasn’t styling my hair from a dry state.} Blow dry hair and spray with dry shampoo before styling with flatiron. OR Blow dry hair halfway and pull hair into messy ponytail. Spray with hairspray.

Day 3

Pull hair into messy ponytail and spray with hairspray.

Since I go swimming every 2-3 days, I can’t really get completely away from blow-drying (wet hair is not very professional looking) or heat-styling (my hair does kinks instead of wavy) on the days I swim, unless I go swimming at night. If I do that, I towel dry my hair so that it’s not sopping wet, pull it into a braid, and go to bed. The next morning, I either put my hair half-up (and curl the ends, for reason aforementioned) or into a messy ponytail (Reason #1 Why I’m Loving the Length My Hair Is Right Now.)

I’ve also discovered that after a particularly sweaty workout, my hair looks better (i.e. less greasy from sweat) if I get it wet before styling it, rather than just trying to blow-dry the sweat out. Even then, I try to only blow-dry my hair until it’s slightly damp, then put it in a messy ponytail. Not only does that save me time and lessen the damage, my slippery straight hair stays up better if I put it up when it’s damp.

I’m still working on getting my routine down and trying to minimize the amount I use the blow-dryer and heat tools. Last night, I went on a run after work and then let my hair dry after my shower. (Win!) This morning, I still curled my hair (Lose!) and pulled it into a low ponytail. I suppose I could have foregone the curling iron but I felt that curling it would look better.

I do feel better about not washing my hair as often, and haven’t really had any or much trouble with it being greasy. (Dry shampoo also helps — I have TRESemmé Dry Shampoo for Dry Hair). Most of all, I like being able to get ready so much faster in the morning! Now if only I could find a way to keep my hair dry while swimming, I’d be set.

How often do you wash your hair?

What type of hair do you have?

Any tips for me on how to avoid blow-drying and heat-styling?