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Going from 100 MPH to 50 MPH: Tips for the Change of Pace

Many of you are aware that I recently made a large change in my career, switching to full time at Wimberly Training as a Health Coach and Personal Trainer. For the last year, I was working two jobs (putting in 50-60 hours per week) and finishing my book in all my extra “spare time.” The publishing of my book made it so I could make the full transition, and with the book completed and down to one job, I suddenly have a lot more time on my hands. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely fantastic. But it has reminded me of the challenges that come with going from the buzz of extreme business to having down time to relax. It’s the same feeling I had when I finished basketball and graduated college.

As a student athlete, you are constantly on the go – from the time you are young through college, it’s always something. Practice, school, homework, tournaments, travel, studying, and for many of us also a job and a couple other clubs and extracurriculars… oh and then maybe some time for friends and family. I remember in college, my teammates and I would daydream what it would be like to only worry about schoolwork.

Then there comes the time to transition out. For college athletes, it’s a huge change because everything pretty much concludes at once – athletics, school, etc. And it’s usually a huge push at the end to get everything in line for senior requirements and graduation. Then what?

In many cases nowadays, students don’t have a job they automatically transition into, so there is some lag time in between. It’s difficult for many, because we have pushed so hard for so many years, and then it all comes to a halt. What do you do with yourself all day? This is the same feeling I’m struggling with right now. With every minute of extra time, I feel like I should be doing something constructive. I just can’t get myself to relax!

 

Another struggle I’m having is around food. I have been very used to eating whenever I had the chance, because there weren’t many chances in the day. 5 minutes? Stuff a protein bar in my mouth. 15 minutes somewhere between 11:00-3:00 pm? Better take lunch and chomp down some salad. I realized that I was used to shoveling food in my mouth at every spare minute. All the sudden I have a lot more spare minutes, and I keep going back to the kitchen for more snacks – hungry or not.

I reflected on this this past weekend, and concluded that it takes some time to adjust to a new schedule, and I will eventually get used to it. However, there are some practices that I’ve been using, and that others can use to manage anxiety and these poor eating habits.

Managing Anxiety or Stress – Getting Into Relaxation Mode:

  • Breath: Take 10 deep breaths. Bonus: Place your hands on your belly, thumbs at the navel and fingertips below. Envision an ocean wave – expand on the inhale, release on the exhale. You should feel the movement in your belly (this is called soft belly breathing). This type of breathing reduces tension in the neck and shoulders, massages the heart, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system (our relaxed state).
  • Yoga: If you have done a lot of yoga, try moving through your favorite version of sun salutations. If you aren’t familiar, perhaps join a class for some instruction, or try following this beginner YouTube video. Sun salutations stretch every major muscle group in the body, relax the mind, and help you to deepen your breath. I go through my favorite several times for between 12-15 minutes.

Managing Auto-Eating:

  • Self check in: are you really hungry? Ask yourself this question every time you find yourself in the kitchen or reaching for a snack. This is the tool I’m currently using to get myself back to recognizing when I’m hungry, rather than just eating whenever I have the time. A good way to tell is the vegetable test – are you hungry enough to munch on raw vegetables? If not, then you aren’t really hungry.
  • Keep unhealthy grab-and-go snacks out of reach. If you have tempting, easy-to-grab treats around your house or with you, it will be easier to grab something fast. If you only keep food that will take you a bit of time to prepare, you will be less likely to aimlessly eat. Bonus: Chop up a bunch of vegetables ahead of time to have some easy grab healthy snacks. No one ever gained weight eating too much broccoli!
  • Take your time. This is the hardest for me. I’ve always been a fast eater – done with my plate before everyone else. It also doesn’t help to have a rushed schedule. This typically leads to overeating, since it takes 15 minutes for your gut to notify your brain that it is full. So, sit down to eat lunch with the idea in mind that you will take at least 15 minutes to eat, if not longer. Savor every bite. Try chewing each bite at least 20 times before swallowing. Put your fork down in between bites. Eat with a buddy so you can have some conversation between bites. Note when you are no longer feeling hungry, and stop there. You may be surprised at your leftovers!

So there we are, some tools I’m using on myself right now to help go from 100 MPH to 50 MPH (and really for anyone else dealing with stress or auto-eating). It’s a difficult transition, but one for which I’m very grateful. Now go relax!

Athlete of the Month: Rita Losee

I was recently at a Leadership Development Workshop down in Arizona for Univera, a research company that has developed amazing plant-based products that have been helping my clients, when I met Rita. The first evening of the workshop someone mentioned that if anyone was interested in climbing Camelback Mountain in the morning to meet outside the hotel at 6:15 am the next morning. It sounded like a great opportunity, so I met this random group, we all stuffed together into a convertible, and made our way to the trail. A few people went ahead, while I and a few others paced ourselves with Rita, a 74-year-old dealing with Lyme Disease. (Don’t get me wrong, she made great time!)

hiking

We made our way up the mile-long climb to 2,700 feet, which took us a little over an hour. It wasn’t just a hike up a trail – there was some definite rock scrambling involved. We made it to the top just in time to enjoy the sunrise before we had to make it back down the mountain for our first speaker. At the top, I was very moved as Rita got emotional and told us her story about how just a year ago, she could barely get herself up off the couch, let alone climb this pile of rocks! She had made a pact with herself that she would do something new every week. What a way to start out the year!

rita

On the way down the mountain, she told me about her past as an endurance athlete, and I knew I had to share her story. We even made a pact that if she is able to get well enough to train for another Iron Man, that I would join her! She is such an inspiration!

Name: Rita Losee, ScD, RN
Hometown: Bath, Maine
Currently Living: Brunswick, Maine
Age: 74
Sport: Triathlons, Hiking, Mountain Climbing, Rock Climbing
Favorite Physical Activity: Running
Favorite Healthy Food: A bowl of mixed fruit, ricotta, cinnamon, and walnuts.
Biggest Athletic Accomplishment: Finishing the Hawaii Ironman in 12 hours, 41 minutes, and 27 seconds; walking the Appalachian Trail, and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Also giving birth to two kids naturally, the smaller one weighed in at 9 lbs.
High School: Morse High School
College & Degree: Maine Medical Center School of Nursing in Portland, ME; Bachelor of Science at Newton College of the Sacred Heart; Master’s in Counseling and Doctorate of Psychiatric Rehabilitation from Boston University

How old were you when you started playing sports or exercising?
I grew up on a farm in Maine with six brothers, and we spent a lot of time outdoors climbing, swimming and playing. There were also stories of my grandfather having been very physically fit. He rode his bicycle from Orono, ME to West Bath, ME (two hours’ drive-time today) on dirt roads in 1913. I also have a photos of my grandmother with her basketball team from 1906. I played basketball when I got to high school too, except you could only play intramural as a girl because there was one gym and that went to the boys. Rules decreed that girls could only run half-court they didn’t think girls had the stamina to play full-court. Guards would be on one end of the court and the forwards at the other end.

I loved being physically active; I think the family stories taught my unconscious that it was good to be active and the adults respected and admired athletes.

However, it was at age 30 when I read Helen Keller’s words, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” At the time I was a suburban housewife, happily married, mother of one, and working part time. Those words changed my life path as I instantly decided that my life was going to be an adventure. So from then on I set out to master everything I could physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. It led me to doing the Hawaii Ironman, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the Appalachian Trail, and many other things. I became an avid runner and a proficient rock climber. Whenever a decision would pop up in my life, I would ask myself, “What would a woman of adventure do here?”

Rita swimming with dolphins, one pushing each food

Rita swimming with dolphins, one pushing each foot

Did you have a coach for any of your training?
One of my professors when I was working on my master’s degree told me I needed to run. I ran a mile and thought I was going to die. I did it on and off for a year before it was my habit; I was a runner. Later, it was Julie Moss’ amazing finish at the Hawaii Ironman that inspired me, and thousands of other people to start doing triathlons. At the time, women just weren’t televised reaching that deep into themselves to reach a goal. I did my first Olympic Distance with a heavy old bike with no toe clips, with a goal of finishing in three hours. I finished in three hours and four minutes, and was hooked. Once I was competing – and winning – regularly I began to wonder if I could do an Ironman.

That “Could I” question wouldn’t go away. The only way I was going to get an answer was to try to do an Ironman. My first Ironman qualified me for Hawaii. What would a woman of adventure do here? In that effort, I hired Hank Lange for some serious coaching to get me ready for my the Hawaii Ironman.

Can you talk about what happened to your health?
I was on the Appalachian Trail hike March 5 through August 29, 2000. I walked into a shelter and pulled off my pack and boots (after weeks of living in the woods 24/7), and saw a small freckle I hadn’t seen before. I poked it, and it moved, and I realized it was a deer tic. Over the next couple of weeks I pulled of 4 or 5 more. I then went home for 4th of July, and second or third day woke up with no energy: I could barely turn my head my neck was so stiff. However, I had been doing over 20 miles per day of hiking for weeks, so thought maybe I was just tired. I gave myself 24 hours to recoup, and if I wasn’t better would go to the ER. Well, I went to the ER, and they confirmed my suspicions. They gave me some antibiotics, and said if I was better in 24-48 hours, I should be fine. Within two weeks I was back on trail, continued at 20 miles per day, I finished the course of antibiotics, back on the trail, hiking 20 miles per day.

rita-2

I finished the hike, and was feeling low energy and achy. Other hikers said it can take a few months to recover from the hike, so I again attributed the symptoms to that. I had another test done in September of 2000 and it came back positive. Then was given three weeks of antibiotics, but still was not feeling better. Then three months worth. By February, I still wasn’t feeling better, and so my doctor referred me to a doctor the specializes in infectious diseases.

Inch by inch deteriorated. I couldn’t even get off the couch. By this point, it was out of control, and began more than a decade of antibiotics. From Nov., 2004- June, 2005, I was on intravenous antibiotics. Seventeen days after they pulled the PICC line out, I felt like me and ran a 5k.

However, I wasn’t really healthy and couldn’t maintain a normal life. Doctors often had a stereotypical viewpoint of me. For example, I had physiological stress test on me. While training for the Ironman. I was 45 years old, and my VO2 max was equivalent to 18-year-old male. Fast forward, and in the second test I knew I didn’t perform well, but it read “normal” for my age. However, because of my background as an athlete I knew my own body, and knew “normal” doesn’t mean “healthy.”

By autumn 2009, I was functioning at a good level. I was working twenty-four hours per week as a nurse, walking every day (even starting to run), finishing a book manuscript, and being socially active. In late October, I went to get my thyroid medication because the pharmaceutical house that manufactured it simply stopped shipping it. I got put on a generic brand, and by early December I was having strange symptoms,

On January 1st, 2010, I did the Lobster Dip in the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Maine, worked 3 – 11 as a nurse, went home, and felt fine. By January 5th, I was almost dead. I couldn’t walk upstairs without my pulse shooting to 115 bpm. I couldn’t stand up without feeling dizzy, so I laid on the couch and read books all day. I often couldn’t get up to cook myself dinner, so too often dinner was two bowls of ice cream.

I was sick and semi-functional from 2000 to 2010. From January 2010 until 2014, I was dreadfully sick and all too often, completely non-functional. Throughout this very long ordeal, I maintained the belief, “every cell in your body knows how to heal.”

To illustrate just how debilitated I was, I recall a summer day from 2014. I needed to go to both the library and the grocery store for a few items. It took just as much self-coaching and determination to get both those errands done as it did to finish mile 23, 24, and 25 in the last leg of the Ironman. But because of my background as an athlete and what I could mentally push through because of that training, I got them done! I also managed to hold to my intention of robust health even in the absence of any evidence that I would ever recover.

How did you recover?
In January 2010, I, for the first time in all the years I had been ill, questioned whether I would ever get well again. I determined that I was going to get off medication; I did a 28-day fruit and vegetable detox, and continued meditating.

In April 2016, which was hell-month for me, a nurse friend whose business was Univera from Think Local, a networking group, started me on Univera products. With Univera, my cells finally had the resources to heal themselves (for more information you Univera, click here). I currently take Univera Xtra, Aloe Select Mango, RegeniFree, GoVera, Prime, Regenicare, Aloedophilus, and as of two nights ago, Anti-Stress.

I can tell when I push myself too hard, because I get insomnia. Well, I was up for 22 hours during my travel on my way here, and then I hiked Camelback Mountain on three hours sleep and attended workshop sessions all day. The climb was very difficult for me. However, I took my Univera supplements and I’m perfectly fine. I also am not feeling sore at all today! I also think that because I had been so active in my past, I was able to recover much faster.

I just started taking Anti-Stress and am finding my sleep pattern greatly improved.

What is your current exercise regimen?
I am working 16 hours per week as a nurse; I get a lot of exercise walking for 8 hours at a stretch. I walk outside as often as I can and do a monthly exercise challenge with Univera colleagues. When I get home, I will be going to the YMCA, and getting back into yoga, lifting, and running on the treadmill.

Rita hard at work at a local ropes course

Rita hard at work at a local ropes course

How would you describe your current diet?
I stay pretty close to gluten-free, although I don’t term myself gluten intolerant. I do seem to have a cast-iron stomach. I also am ice-cream-free. I emphasize fruits and vegetables. I eat as little sugar as possible. I eat a lot of home made Crockpot dishes with loads of vegetables, chicken, and herbs.

I have a Grow Tower in my home from which I can harvest fresh greens all year, even in Maine where today the high temperature will be in the single digits.

Do you include a routine for mental health?
Right now I am doing Joe Vitale’s visualization techniques in morning, as well as the Ho’oponopono chant when it feels right: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” It’s what I told my legs all the way up Camelback yesterday!

Do you feel your job allows you work/life balance?
My real goal is to resume life as a professional speaker. I never met a microphone I didn’t like. Working in a long-term care facility is difficult, because people younger than me are expected to die there. It is incompatible with who I am right now. However, it’s what I need at the moment, so I’m working on doing my highest and best there.

I am feeling totally grateful for the opportunity to go to Scottsdale, get better acquainted with what a great company Univera is, and get to know some of the superb people who are part of it. I am proudly living young! I am joyously living Univera!

If you or someone you know would like to be a featured athlete on this blog, please email a brief bio to katie@wimberlytraining.com.

Harness Your Intention Through a Vision Board

As we start the new year, you are no doubt thinking about what you would like to accomplish (and if you aren’t, then you should be!). After all – how do get where you want to be without knowing where you want to go? Many may have New Year’s Resolutions, but it can also be helpful to put together images that represent your goals and intentions for this year.

Creating a vision board is an extremely effective way at influencing your mind and harnessing your intentions. You can choose images that represent actions, words, products, or places that represent what you want in your life. Keep it in a place where you will see it daily to remind you what you are working toward, and ultimately strengthen your decision-making process.

How to Create a Vision Board:

  1. Take time to think about your goals, and your timeline. Are these short or long-term goals? Are these goals for the next three months, six months, year? I personally created a board for the new year. Envision what you want to achieve within this timeline, and what you desire your life to look like. Write them down.
  2. After your goals are clear, find images that represent these goals and intentions. They can be from magazines, photo albums, online, or your own drawings. To make it easy, I grabbed most of my images and quotes from online and put together my board digitally.
  3. Supplement images with quotes or words. Use vibrant colors to enhance the emotion of these pieces.
  4. Display your vision board in a place that you will see daily, like above your computer screen, in your office, on your mirror, on the refrigerator, or on the front of your planner or binder. You can also take a digital photo to be the background of your phone or tablet.
  5. Meditate on the images for a few minutes each day. As they come to a reality, acknowledge your success with check marks, stamps, or stickers. Give yourself the satisfaction of completion!

Below is my Vision Board for this year. I’m putting it on my mirror, on the inside of my planner, and as the background on my phone. Have fun!

2017-vision-board-web