Did You Eat Your Vegetables Today?

I am a self proclaimed veggie hater, always have been.  Imagine me now in my nutrition class, the research staring back at me saying how important those pesky vegetables really are.  So important, that my plate right now should hold about 75% vegetables and 25% lean protein.  That’s a tall order for me.  My breakfast plate should also be about 50% vegetables and my lunch plate 75%.  I can almost see my mother laughing at me and saying, “Really, did you think I made this stuff up?”2bm_sgg_dinner-plate-1.png

When I was a young girl, I blatantly refused to eat any vegetable other than corn, which isn’t even a vegetable.  Thankfully, I had a dog named Pierre who loved vegetables and would eat them fast when my mother turned her back.  When I was a teenager, my mother gave up fighting with me about eating vegetables.  It was I’ll admit, quite the fight and one I was not planning to lose.  When I moved out and was fully in charge of my eating, vegetables were never on my shopping list.  I was very thin and lived happily on my diet of Entemann’s cake, deli sandwiches and lunch from the Morgan Stanley cafeteria.   As a young mother, I made valiant attempts to get my children to eat vegetables.  My children all ate home cooked baby food.  I lovingly purchased fresh vegetables and fruits to cook and puree for each of them.  When they were young toddlers and began to fight with me about eating certain foods, I realized how hard it likely was for my mother.

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The dogs of 72nd St. Rusty, Rumple & Pierre

The past few months as I moved back into running training again, I’ve cleaned up my eating substantially.  I signed up for nutrition classes to learn how to better fuel my body and offset any genetic flaws.  What I did not do though is increase my vegetable intake to the level of 75% of my plate!  Clearly, I still have some work to do here!

Three years ago, when my mother was placed full time in a care center, I vowed to not go down the same path.  I knew first hand what this disease had done to my family and did not want my children to face a similar fate as my husband and I age.  Alzheimer’s robs you of your precious memories and the ability to care for yourself.  It is quite painful to watch helplessly as your loved one fades away.  I did not want this burden for my three children and hoped to find a way to prevent, or delay it.

I’ve spent three years reading any research I can get my hands on and changing my lifestyle.  It has not been an easy journey, as it is hard work.  My why has kept me pushing forward, even on days where motivation is low.  I’ve had my setbacks along the way with injuries, but the push forward has continued.  This winter, I decided to stop spending so much money on nutritionists and put that money to use in educating myself.  I’m in the middle of my second nutrition course and hope to attend IIN Nutrition in the fall.  I am more convinced than ever, that the answer to my quest to prevent Alzheimer’s does indeed rely heavily on the foods I am eating.  I know that my best hope to ensure brain health is to change the way we eat and continue to move my body.  It’s an exciting journey and one that I truly hope I will get to share with my grandchildren and great grandchildren someday.

Today, my husband brought home a beautiful piece of ham for Sunday dinner.  He shops early in the morning on the way home from the gym and was quite excited about his purchase.  I had a 5K race this morning at 10:00 AM, so was less than excited about his purchase.  When in the world did he think we’d be cooking and preparing this ham?  He had this all planned out and brought in the Crockpot from the garage.  He said that he heard we could set it up in the Crockpot and it would be ready later in the day. Since my options were limited, I went along with his plan.  I literally washed the ham and placed it in the pot with some water.  That’s it!  I set it to 8 hours on low and got ready to leave for the race.

When we returned from the race the house smelled heavenly.  I forgot how nice it was to come home to a meal in the Crockpot.  I was able to shower, relax and unwind from my morning without worrying about preparing dinner.  When we were ready, I took the meat out of the pot and sliced it up to eat.  It was soft, juicy and delicious.  I plated it with some shredded cabbage mixed with kale and baby spinach.  I prefer my vegetables raw, so a side salad of this was just perfect for me.  If you have a Crockpot collecting dust in your garage, I recommend you pull it out, wash it up and get it going again.  It was wonderful not to have to turn on the oven today.

I’d love to hear what your favorite Crockpot recipes are.  Please leave me a message below.

The book I just finished in my course was –

 

It was very helpful to read about how certain foods that I thought were healthy are not in fact healthy for me.  Interesting read, especially if like me, you have inflammation. If you read it, please leave me a comment.

 

Resolutions are not Realistic

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential. – Ellen Goodman

Every January, I hear people talking about their resolutions for living a healthy lifestyle in the new year.  They will exercise more, eat better, stop drinking and the list goes on and on.  But, resolutions are not always realistic.  They are a promise you make to do things differently, but most times they are never fully carried out.

Every January, gyms are overcrowded with people who have made these resolutions.  They vow to come every day and start off strong, but inevitably they can’t maintain this pace because it’s not realistic.  You can’t go from not working out to working out every single day without some soreness, or loss of motivation.  I don’t set resolutions, I make plans.  They often say goals (insert resolutions) are dreams without plans.  I can’t agree more.  So, this year, instead of making a resolution to do a list of things, spend time planning for your success.  Buy a calendar and plan your weeks for healthier living – when will you workout, what will you eat.  This simple change could put you on the road to success.  Now that I’m close to being cleared to return to full activity, that is exactly my plan for this weekend.

Happy Holidays and New Year to all my readers.  I’d love to hear what your plans are for 2018.  Leave me a message below.

Click this link  –  New Year, New You!  to enjoy my New Year’s column to help you get started on your plans for 2018!

 

 

Celebrate You

Christmas is next weekend and for many it can be a time of great emotional pain.  There are empty chairs at tables around the table and loved ones left to deal with this loss.  One way I deal with it is to always keep my loved ones near.  I have something of these loved ones included on my tables when I set them.  It may be a simple thing like the salt shakers, or the china we eat on, or my memories of them sitting and laughing at my table.  It can be a very trying time, but we must celebrate life and continue our journey as that is what they would want for us.

When I think back on Christmas past, I often take out old photographs and am always surprised by how absent I am in large chunks of time.  I remember avoiding the camera at all costs but I never thought about the future and how I’d be noticeably missing from our past.  What will my children and grandchildren have to remember me by?  I wrote about this in a previous column and I think it’s worthy of a reread.  The unintended consequence of my action is that I removed myself from my children’s past memories.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Get in those photographs this year regardless of how you think you look.  I guarantee when you look back on them they will bring you joy and you truly won’t even notice!

Take a moment to read this column and leave me a note below.  Enjoy the holiday week with your loved ones and be sure to capture each moment.

Unintended Consequences

Highlight Reels

When you are recovering, or rebuilding your strength following an injury social media can be tough to view.  Each day my feed is full of photographs from my running friends who are sharing their successes. Most weekdays I wake to photographs of beautiful scenery from their runs.  Weekends are full of race medals, smiling faces and finish line celebrations.  Sure, I am happy for all my running friends who are continuing their journey.  Sure, I celebrate all their accomplishments, support and congratulate them – and I mean it.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s not hard for me and that I don’t feel like time is passing me by.  I miss my runs, I miss my races and I miss my running friends.

Recently, I went on Twitter and noticed a photo of a group having a meet up run.  I must admit I felt left out to not have even known about it.  It’s not that they didn’t tell me they were meeting, it’s that I wasn’t able to be there to run.  This run happens every year, I just wasn’t watching the run group calendar of events as I am currently on break.  I had that FOMO moment and really started feeling sorry for myself.   I got that nagging, whiny feeling of – “Why me?”  “Why is everyone else able to run without any injury and I get injured when I think about running.”   Then I reminded myself, that these photographs come from the “highlight reel” of their lives.  Every runner struggles with injury, aches and pain because running is hard work.  For every smiling photograph on social media, there are many other not so pretty moments on the journey.

This time of year can be especially hard on many people and social media can heighten these feelings.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, it may be a good time to take a break from it.  Get involved in something else to occupy the time you normally spend on social media.  I have been walking instead and to stay motivated I joined a Fitbit Challenge called the Workweek Hustle.  My work friend has been pushing me to walk more each day by upping her steps in this friendly competition.  The walking has helped me to clear my mind and spend less time on the computer.  That’s a win win for me on this recovery journey.  I hope you consider doing the same.

Last year around this time I wrote a blog about similar feelings that you may find interesting.

Me, Myself and I

Knowing you are not alone in the struggle can often lift you up.  Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing.  Your notes of encouragement lift me up and often put a smile on my face.  Thanks to all who take time to comment each week, I greatly appreciate your thoughts.

There’s Always Tomorrow

There’s always tomorrow
For dreams to come true
Believe in your dreams, come what may.
There’s always tomorrow
With so much to do
And so little time in a day.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….for gaining weight.  I’m not kidding, there are so many temptations all around me since Thanksgiving.  Everywhere I look there’s a holiday cocktail or snack and it’s oh so hard to not get caught up in it all.  Add in to this mix my inability to run, or do most workouts and I’m on sure fire path toward watching the scale creep up again.  It happens so very rapidly too, just a few weeks and I can find myself 10+ pounds heavier and my pants are already feeling tight!

Last Sunday, I began light walking and planned to walk a little each day this week.  While I got 6-7K steps at work each day, I never actually went for a walk.  Each morning, I’d tell myself that I would walk at lunch – never happened; or go down and do light yoga before work – never happened; or worse yet..I’ll just do it tomorrow which also never happened.  I am on that cycle of “tomorrow”, but unfortunately tomorrow never happens.

In a world that preaches – “There’s always tomorrow” when we fail to do what we set out to do, I’ve tried to live with a different philosophy.  Pablo Picasso once said, “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”   I realize that’s a bit strong for the diet context, but it’s the best way to live life overall.  Why put off until tomorrow what one can do today?  Also, very good advice.  We are never guaranteed tomorrow, so living life with the idea that we should do all we can today in this moment can serve us well when trying to meet our health goals.

Here’s a few things that have helped me in the past to get back on track, as sadly this isn’t my first time struggling.  I hope you find one that helps you and I hope writing them down gives me a push out of my comfortable bed this morning.

1. Treat workouts like appointments – You would never stay in bed if you had a work meeting, so treat your workouts like that.  I work out in the morning, or it just doesn’t happen.  I know this and yet I tell myself I’ll walk at lunch.  That is just not going to happen, my job doesn’t allow it.  I need to schedule my workouts on a calendar with a set time and stick to it.  I’ve been a bit too lax since the injury, enjoying the extra time in bed to sip coffee and relax.  My body needed that break, but it’s time to get back on a schedule.  Doing less has also made me lazier.   Today, I will pull out my calendar and plan my workout week.

2. Set an alarm or reminder – It’s super easy to fall down that black hole in the morning.  You know the one I mean.  You are sipping coffee and open the computer to check email quickly.  Next thing you know it’s an hour later and you’ve missed your workout.  I’m going to set a reminder on my phone to buzz when it’s time for my scheduled workout meeting in the basement.  This will break my trance created by all the Facebook and Twitter feeds that pull me in and don’t let go.

3. Create routine – In keeping with my scheduling of workouts, I need routine.  My childhood revolved around strict routines, my parents may have been a bit excessive about it, so I tend to crave them.  The calendar will help, but putting specific routines on set days truly keeps me going.  It gives me something to look forward to and helps when I don’t love a workout to know it’s only one of the days in my week.

4. Keep it light – When motivation wanes it’s often a sign that you need to lighten things up a bit.  I know I need to recapture some of the fun of working out.  This is actually a perfect time to do this, as I’m not training for anything specific right now.  My short term goal is to get moving and have some fun.  I’m planning to look for some new trails to walk on, or try some new workout routines on Beach Body On Demand that I’ve not tried yet.

5. Stay in the present moment – I have to live more like my dog Sonny – in the present moment.  It’s so easy for me to become overwhelmed by one bad choice (alright, seriously there’s been more than one).  I just have to keep going and move on because when I beat myself up for one mistake, it just gives me excuses for the next one.

6. Get connected – Keeping my mental state in a healthy zone is critical for my success.  I am an emotional eater and it’s super easy at this time of year to go down that rabbit hole.  I miss my family being as it once was during the holidays.  I miss my mom and dad being with me at my tables.  Every song or scent evokes memories and they can become overwhelming.  I’ve got to keep pushing myself to go out and get connected with others.  Walking alone is great, but it’s so much more fun to walk with a friend, or my husband.  I can’t run with my running group right now, but there are other injured runners who would likely meet me to walk.  Find someone to connect with during this holiday season and see if it helps you get back in a healthier mindset.

That’s the plan for the week.  I’m going to do my Sunday cooking today so I have healthier food for the week.  I also plan to get some food for my work refrigerator and I bought a small Nutribullet machine for my office.  I’m hoping if I’m craving something sweet a nice shake might provide some satisfaction instead of the chocolate or cookies.  If not, at least I know I’m getting some extra vegetables and fruit into my diet.

How are you doing this holiday season with your eating and workout plans?  If you find yourself struggling, try one of these ideas and drop me a line to let me know if it helped.  You are not alone on this journey!  There are many of us walking this walk and together we will get it done.

Great read to help change your mindset:

 The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

Inside the pages of this book are four life lessons that we all can draw upon in our daily lives.  Now especially, with our world in constant turmoil, with tensions running so high, I find myself relying on it heavily.  The four agreements are –

  1. Speak with Integrity – Your word is everything!  Say only what you mean and avoid negative self talk and gossip.  Use your words to speak the truth and of love.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally -Remember always that nothing others say or do is because of you, it is really a projection of their own reality.  Be immune to the opinions and actions of others and you will avoid much suffering.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions – Do your research before you make an assumption about someone or something.  When in doubt save your energy and don’t worry about it.  Ask and be direct rather than fretting and worrying about things. Be sure.
  4. Always Do Your Best – Under any and all circumstances do your best each and every day.  Yes, your best will vary depending on the situation, but do the best you can at all times and you will never be full of self regret.

I use them in my daily life and often at work.  They really are about making a mindset shift and approaching life from a position of self love and positivity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to Know a Truth…

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential. Ellen Goodman

Here’s my truth:   My long time mindset of harder is better has served to make me feel discouraged more times than it’s made me feel good about myself and the work I do.  Now in this long recovery cycle, I realize it may be totally off base.

Funny thing is that my nutritionist recently told me, “You know you can get healthy just from walking every day.  You don’t have to work so hard at this.”   My foot doctor told me, “You know you don’t have to run six days a week to get healthy.  You can benefit from cross training and/or taking long walks.”  My running club told me, “You can use walking to strengthen and improve your running.”  My heart rate coach told me time spent building my endurance would have huge payoffs in the long run.  But, the short run might involve a lot of walking.”  My husband told me, “You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”  But my ego told me, “You can push through this.  You don’t have to go back to being a beginner and walking.  You can run through these bumps in the road.

Wanna know a truth… I’ve come to finally realize that – Just because I take breaks to walk doesn’t mean I’m not a runner.

Jeff Galloway says, “Never underestimate the power of a good walk—and not just as a mid-run break. Going for a “pure” walk, (no running at all) allows your body to make small adaptations that strengthen your feet, knees and hips. Long, brisk walks can help boost your endurance. And walking as a means of cross-training gives your joints and running muscles a well-deserved break, which can help reduce or eliminate the aches and pains caused by running.”  Jeff is an Olympic runner who has taught many people how to successfully learn to run.  His running clubs are found all over the world and I had the pleasure of working with one in New York City this year.  Bill, a marathoner, ran with my group one weekend in Central Park.  He was running with me and talking about how he had burned out as a runner.  He talked about how hard he was training and how it took a toll on his body.  He told me that, “You can never run too slow when training, but you definitely can run too fast.”  He recommended that I run as slow as possible on my training runs and it would benefit me greatly over time.  He explained that during his first marathon he overtrained and had nothing left at the end.  The next year, running with the Galloway club to train, he finished strong and passed many runners on the course who had flown by him in the earlier stages of the race.

This time I think I actually understand what many have been trying to tell me.  My improvement may actually depend on slowing it down.  Galloway believes that walking can help strengthen your muscles and increase your endurance.  Further, he believes that it re-conditions soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, connective tissue), preparing them for the more rigorous demands of running.  This sounds like just what the doctor ordered and what I need to start again.   Friday, I decided it was time to start walking a little to get moving again.  I’ve had three (3) weeks of total rest and am now ready to walk lightly to get back out there.  I walked two miles on Friday and Saturday and it felt great to be outside in the crisp fall air.  I took my dog with me to ensure that I kept it at a walk, as he’s definitely not a running dog.  I will continue to take shorter walks and hope to increase my endurance and mental mindset for running.

This week, I got a Facebook message from a childhood friend.  She decided to start the Couch to 5K plan with the long term plan of joining us on some runs this year.  Her joy and excitement in the discovery of running made me realize what I was truly missing.  There is joy to be found in running not just work.  It is not just about increasing pace, or distance.  It’s about reclaiming health and feeling great about what you’ve accomplished.  Wanna know a truth…I haven’t felt that in a very long time!  Running is not my job, it’s my joy and I’m setting off to find that again.  Thanks Deb for reminding me what it’s truly about.  Can’t wait to run with you and Helen soon, even if we end up running to the nearest Irish pub and staying for hours.

What’s your current truth?  Leave me a message below and let’s get started on moving forward together.

Worth checking out:


Opening quote taken from my running friend Tony Garcia’s book – Wanna Know a Truth:A Simple Man’s Search for the Truths in His Life.  I’ve enjoyed Tony’s journey and writing.  His book is definitely worth checking out.

Functional Movement Specialist – Ever wonder why you keep getting injured? Tired of hearing, “Maybe your body is just not meant to run.” Contact Jessica Leggio for a consultation and get on track to running pain free. Mention my name – Laura Hess Kump, or this blog Reclaiming My Health for a free consultation –  Run Pain Free

Galloway Training – Official website can be found at – Jeff Galloway

Lists of Galloway groups in different states can be found on the main website.  Here is the link to the New York City chapter, a very active and supportive group – New York City Galloway Group  This page has dates for the training cycle we just completed, but information on joining for the next cycle can be found here.  We begin again in May, however members meet unofficially throughout the winter months.

 

 

It Will Move You

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Sunday, November 5, 2017 has come and gone.  I’m still smiling about all that happened on that cold, rainy day.  The lead up the New York City Marathon included advertisements that stated, “The New York City Marathon, it will move you.”  This is perhaps an understatement to the experience this race represents for so many runners and spectators alike.  Me, I didn’t get to run my race, but I did get to experience the race and it most definitely moved me.

When I received the news of the femoral stress fracture, I texted my childhood friend and running partner on this marathon journey, who was also injured and out of the race.  I said, “Hey, how about we walk the darn thing.”  She was excited about that and said sure.  Then I went on the NYC Marathon group page on Facebook and posted, “Hey, any injured people on here want to have a beer in every borough and walk it?”  Amazingly, so many people started jumping on and posting.  Enter my friend Nancy Nowak, a born organizer, who created a separate group for us injured warriors to plan, commiserate and support each other on this road to the New York Marathon.

Over 100 strong, we were out in force on November 5th, with many making it to the start line, some walking and many running.  Among these strong women, all of who finished, I’ve met some true heroes.  Women who refused to not finish what they started, despite many obstacles and challenges.  For me, the race was not to be, but I fully experienced the marathon emotions through their journeys.  When you are part of a team, it is larger than just you and your journey.  You don’t get to stay home and sulk because you can’t play, or in this case run.  Your team is still out there with unfinished business and they need and deserve your support.  How truly selfish it would be to walk away from them in their moment of glory because you were unfortunate in luck that day.

At 8:00 AM, we got up and had a nice breakfast and got ready to go to the starting line.  I was now the designated driver of race day.  I dropped my friend Helen off at the starting line and headed into Brooklyn to watch the race.  It took me a train, a ferry, and then two more trains to reach my destination, but with my team starting in the 11:00 wave, I knew I had time to get there to see them at the halfway point.  When I stepped off the train at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, I could hear the cheers of the crowd and feel the energy from inside the station.  When I got upstairs, I suddenly felt the electric pull of the crowd.  I knew then that I had made the best decision ever to be there.  My daughter Cathy sent me a text that said, “I’m here, look up.”  Looking up, there was my beautiful girl right across the street from me.  I wondered how in the world she would ever get to my side of the avenue.  We stood there in the cold, rainy mist for hours, screaming, yelling and supporting 50k runners.

There were so many stories out on the course that day and it really put my experience in perspective.  Every runner out there had a story.  From Shalane Flannagan, who has been dreaming of winning this race since she was a little girl, to the man I saw in a wheelchair and so many others, everyone out there had many obstacles on their path to this marathon.  Shalane winning was so special for many runners for so many reasons, including that like many of us she suffered an injury that crushed her dream of running the Boston Marathon.  I remembered her having to pull out at the last minute.  I remembered how devastated she was and fully know her pain, despite the fact that I am not an elite runner.  Seeing her cross that line emotionally drained, yet satisfied that she never gave up on her dream was so moving.

Shalane is a true warrior who worked harder than most to accomplish that win, but she was not the biggest hero of the day for me.  A member of my running team takes top hero status for me.  Erika Hauer, a nurse from New Jersey, who I met through my running group.  Erika had deferred last year and really wanted to get to the starting line, but she was unsure and perhaps a bit afraid of not being able to complete the race.  You see, Erika deferred last year, so this was her last chance to use the guaranteed entry she had obtained by deferring.  On top of that, shortly after deferring last year, Erika was diagnosed with cancer and started undergoing chemotherapy.  She had recently finished her chemotherapy and was not sure she was strong enough to run the marathon distance.  Additionally, she was scheduled for surgery four days after the marathon.  I spoke to Erika the day before the marathon when I told her I was out.  She was heading to the Expo to pick up her packet and was going to give this race her best effort.  I’m happy to say that Erika not only finished, she finished strong!  Watching her dot on the tracker cross that finish line, I could only imagine the wave of emotions she felt.  Erika represents everything that is the New York City Marathon experience.  Cancer does not get to win, not on this day – November 5, 2017.  On this day, a warrior named Erika Hauer, kicked cancer’s ass to the curb and stomped on it for 26.2 miles through our beautiful city.  I, for one, couldn’t be happier for her.  Fly high, Erika and I hope we run it together in 2018 so start training.

Best Moments of the 2017 NYC Marathon 

 

 

Congratulations to the marathon class of 2017.  I hope you’ll join me on the journey to 2018 NYCM.

Are you injured, recovering from injury or looking to prevent one?  Connect with us on Facebook and be a part of our running group.  You are not alone on this journey and we’d love to hear your story.

NYC Injured Runners Facebook Group

Prevention is key to remaining injury free.  Looking for a free consultation from a functional movement specialist?  Mention my name – Laura Hess Kump – to receive a free consultation with my personal coach and trainer Jessica Leggio at Run Pain Free.  She will get you back on the road to running.

If you were out there on November 5th, or plan to be out there in 2018, drop me a line.  I’d love to hear your story.  I will feature your story on this blog if you wish to share.