High School was a time of great physical fitness for me. I ran track all four years and discovered Cross Country my Junior year. I qualified for the State Meets in both sports. Turns out, I have or had a knack for running. I went to Olivet Nazarene University to run for a great coach and great guy, Mike McDowell... and long story short, I was a bit immature still and showed up late to several morning practices and was dropped from the team a little over halfway through my first season. I continued to run off and on for the next couple years (more off than on) and didn't really get back into shape until I joined the Army.
I was forced to stretch, do push-ups, do sit-ups, and go for a run on a daily basis, or close to it. I got into good shape, and developed better eating habits (partially thanks to my wife's cooking!) than I've had for most of my life. I was fairly healthy and felt pretty good, physically at least.
Then, I got out of the Army and decided to give running a shot again and joined the Cross Country team at the school I was going to, at 26. I had put on a bit of weight through my time in the Army and didn't dedicate enough time to running so I had mediocre results, but I started to feel better. My energy levels and my focus were better. But I only did one season. And one season of Track the following year.
Now, between working overnight at my "day job" and school... and a business... and another business... and a family... I eat at odd times, don't exercise and rely on energy drinks to get through most days. I feel TERRIBLE. I feel ready for change.
A few of the changes I am making soon:
- Replace my usual processed sugar (Famous Amos cookies, Sour Patch Kids, Airhead bites, Peanut Butter M&M's, etc.) with natural sugar. Most of us tend to snack a lot through our night shifts to get through the night... but I am going to switch to healthier FRUIT based snacks that have little to no added sugars. I consume far too much sugar.1
- Replace my carbonated, sugary energy drinks with healthier choices. The best replacements I've tried for carbonated energy drinks: Guru, Kill Cliff, and Runa. These can be a good "transition" substitute as we ween ourselves off of caffeine. BUT, until I can stop my caffeine consumption and get some good exercise back in my schedule... I just found True Lemon's Energy packets. Sweetened with Stevia and uses caffeine from tea.
- Regulate my meal times. Right now I eat when I'm hungry, if at all. I wake up between noon and 2 PM on my work days and 10 AM to noon on my days off (usually) and eat at different times most days. This isn't good for a person's health.2
Dopamine production is likely the root cause for how many of us "feel" and I found a pretty good, short article with an explanation of dopamine's function and some suggestions on how to increase dopamine production. This list has some additional changes that I'll need to work in eventually (weaning off caffeine altogether is a big one!).3
Maybe we can support each other! I'll try to work in some motivational and informational posts on our social media accounts, along with some follow-up blogs. We can be random and healthy together!
However, it is worth noting: bacon will not be removed from my diet any time soon. There will be a blog post about bacon soon, so stay tuned! In the meantime, pick up a "Bacon is my love language" shirt to show your love for bacon!