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This article is the third in the Learn to Hunt series.
I wanted to talk a little about how I am preparing for hunting season, and life in general, as far as fitness goes. I started running again in March and I am currently running about 3 1/2 miles three times a week. Bob and I started eating Paleo, although we still include some dairy. Basically we have cut out grains (most carbs) and sugar. We do still get to eat treats, we just use Stevia instead of sugar.
Sometimes when I don’t want to get up and go out, or I am having a tough day, it helps me to remind myself why I am out there. I would encourage you to make a list of why you make the choices you do (or are going to start) to have a healthy lifestyle. So this is my “I run now…” list. It’s why I am making the choices I am today because I know it has an impact on tomorrow.
- I run now because I don’t want to get left in the dust during hunting season. The people I will be hunting with are all guys and are all taller than me so I am at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to covering ground. In fact in our local circles, it is well known that my dad could out walk a mountain goat when it comes to being in the mountains! He spends most of his days outside and has a physically demanding job, plus a never quit mentality and it all equals out to him being able to really get going on rough terrain.
- I run now because not quitting becomes a habit. Running (or any consistent physical challenge) really bleeds over into every part of my life. I not only have more energy and strength, but often I find myself thinking “If I can push through when running is hard, I know I can do ____.” I am not only training my body, but I am training myself mentally to not say quit.
- I run now because I am still working on making good food choices, especially at social events. I find that when I am consistently running, I don’t want to waste my hard work on eating badly, so it actually gives me pause on some occasions and also helps me put on the brakes when I otherwise might binge on crappy food. But, there are times when we go to an event and I end up eating dessert or eating some carb-ridden food. In those cases, I run to help my body use the fats that it had to store because I was overwhelming it with sugars.
- I run now because it gives me self-confidence. Being overweight is an odd situation. Nobody likes being that way, but it’s a place that we are putting ourselves into. I think that’s why it makes you feel like you want to hide. It sometimes feels like you are wearing a billboard that says you can’t figure life out, or that you are weak. But when I started running and eating Paleo, I felt like I finally had control of the state of my health. I think it gives you a feeling of being strong and able. Before I started running, I remember talking with Bob and wondering if some people just weren’t meant to run. Maybe I couldn’t even do it. And initially it sort of felt like that. But now it’s so neat to know that I really can do something like this if I keep at it. Who knows what else I can do?!
Now, there is even more to this article. It gets a little long, but I thought I would tack this on here in case you wanted to hear more about what I have done and what I am still working on in my journey to health. I would love to answer any questions or hear any suggestions you might have as well. So, carry on if you so choose…
I remember from a very young age just feeling cumbersome. I always had in my head that I was slower and less agile than everyone else. I was also very shy and so intimidated by the fact that I might fail and draw attention to myself that I very rarely had the courage to try athletic feats in sight of anyone. In grade-school, when we had to run the mile, I refused to run and walked the whole time. Not because I couldn’t, but because I was too embarrassed to run. Looking back on pictures, I wasn’t even an overweight child. I just couldn’t break out of that shell. I did spend a lot of time outdoors riding my horse, working at the barn or going on walks, so I was fairly healthy.
Then high school hit and I got a job at an old-fashioned drive-thru restaurant. That was the beginning of my significant weight gain. We were allowed to have burgers and fries, ice-cream and soda… And so I did. Especially the soda. I still rode my horse often and liked being outside, but those activities couldn’t compete with the food I was eating.
After high school I began working as a veterinary technician and was on my feet all the time, plus I would go team roping with some family friends quite often and my diet improved some. I wasn’t doing too bad, but some of the weight gain stuck with me.
Eventually I met Bob and once we got married we moved into town where he was going to college. I lost my outlet of going riding and I remember there being a lot of pizza! By this time I had gone from being 5’5″ and 155 lbs to being around 175 lbs within 3 yrs. After another 3 years we began having children and I slowly continued to gain weight. Which leads me to where I am today. When I weighed myself in January of 2016 I was at my highest, 196 lbs.
Last year I started running using the C25k app. It slowly builds up the amount of running you do each week until you are able to run a 5k. I used the app for a couple of months but then stopped. I had gone on a 13 mile hike and let myself “rest” for a few days too long and then just didn’t get back into my routine of running. I made excuses and we were in the midst of moving to a new house and I just let it slide. I loved they way I felt when I had gone running though and I had been losing a little weight. I had also been trying to follow the Trim Healthy Mama Plan , which is a low-glycemic plan, for a couple of years and had finally started sticking with it. I was feeling so much more energetic because of it too. In fact, about 6 months prior to that time I had my bloodwork done at my husband’s office when they changed the insurance and my A1C was 8.4, which is diabetic level. Because of moving to a new town I put off going to a doctor. By the time I went, I had been running and following the plan for a few months and when they rechecked my blood work, it was entirely normal. So for the past year I have been mainly following that eating plan. But I have not been exercising consistently and I’ve allowed way too many “treats” into my diet and so I gained back anything I had lost plus a few.
In January, the time of resolutions, Bob talked me into trying the Beach Body 21 Day Fix. I wasn’t really sold on it, but I wanted to support him so we did it. I had a really hard time sticking with the little food containers you use to measure your food, and I have to admit, I HATE workout videos! Bob stuck with it longer than I did, and still uses the videos sometimes when he needs a quick workout but can’t get out. But that wasn’t a good fit for us.
What has really turned us around now is the fact that Bob was listening to the Gritty Bowman podcast and the Scottish dude on there was talking about how he had lost 50 lbs. Bob contacted him via Facebook to find out more and received a reply that explained that he was mostly eating Paleo and especially limiting carbs. Bob wanted to give it a try and it closely resembles the Trim Healthy Mama plan, which I think is really the way to go, so we decided to go for it! We were finally on the same page and committed! For years and years I tried to figure out what to do, what to eat, that would help me be fit and get rid of the excess weight. I tried really hard and was frustrated that it didn’t seem to make a difference so I would quit trying but wouldn’t quit thinking about it. Bob and I were talking the other day though about how we wish that we had known how easy it could be years ago. Between reading the Trim Healthy Mama book and learning more about Paleo, it has really been an eye opening experience. For years, conventional wisdom has said that you should eat low-fat, lots of “healthy”grains and low-calorie foods. And it turns out that all of those things are just causing your body to gain unhealthy weight.
I started running again in March and this time a friend agreed to go running with me. She has been running off and on for years and she’s a lot taller and slimmer than I am. It helps a lot to have the accountability and someone to push me a little bit when I would wimp out and go slow or just not go at all! At this time I have finished the C25k app and started using the 10k app. It’s so awesome to to know that I can ask my body to do something like that and I can do it!
That leaves me to tell you where I am now. I have lost 16 lbs since we started eating Paleo and I began running again and I can see that my stomach, arms, and legs have slimmed down and I have put on muscle. I feel more motivated to get out and do things and I am slowly getting more energy.
I really would love to hear what you are doing to prepare for hunting season and to gain health. You can comment here or join the conversation on our Facebook page!