Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Keeps You from Reaching Your Goals?

So this week, instead of forcing y'all to read "The World According to Rob".  I simply wanted to put forth the question and offer some individual answers.

What obstacles do you face in your day to day life that prevents you from achieving the health and fitness goals you've set?

This is a question, in an introspective moment, that we all ask ourselves from time to time, sometimes our response to this includes excuses, but for many of us their are very real/practical problems we face in moving our cause forward.

I would encourage those who read this to either be courageous and leave a comment regarding your obstacles and we can have a public discussion that may benefit many readers or if you prefer to be more discrete you can e-mail us at happinessisalongrun@gmail.com and we will respond to each person individually.

Happy Running!!!

Rob and Jess

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Delicious Food is to Healthy Living as Garbage Food is to….?

It may be a revelation for some that Jess and I no longer claim to be “VEGAN”.  We lived on a plant based diet for about five months and learned a great deal from this experience.  We learned how to use things like nutritional yeast and the proper way to use and prepare tofu, without it tasting like a watery, stagnant mess.  Additionally, we learned that we will never learn to love things like Daiya (vegan cheese product) or Tofurky (the bratwurst seemed to come straight from the food laboratories in hell).  We began feeling very deprived in our plant based lifestyle and therefore began consuming more of the wrong kinds of calories.  We also began moving away from our core belief of reducing or eliminating processed foods.  Many of the protein substitutes used in vegan meals are highly processed and pretty icky.
As a result we began eating in the manner we had to lose the weight and get fit to begin with.  And on one cheat night we found ourselves perched like birds of prey over our favorite all natural burger place, Larkburger.  These burgers are great, all the fixins’ are prepared in house including sauces and the burgers are grass fed black angus…They are the bomb!  Being that we were on a budget, as a result of both of us playing the broke college part perfectly, we decided that our cheat meal night would be Larkburger for the grown-ups and Burger King for the kiddos (get off my case…these are not your children).  We stopped at Burger King first and afterward as we pulled up to Larkburger, we decided to leave the bag full of shamefully alluring cheap fast food in the car.  The smell inside the restaurant is intoxicating and nearly moves me to tears as we are placing our order.  When we had our food, we walked back to the car to take this mass of greasy, fatty, carb-loaded burgers home to enjoy.  However, when we climbed back into the car after having just marinated in the smell of freshly made buns, burgers, and truffle fries; the smell of Burger King was nearly unbearable.  The whole car smelled like plastic and the synthetic smell of the food we were going to be feeding our children made me feel a little less like the world’s greatest dad that night.

Now, I am not going to tell anyone that the key to a fit lifestyle or smaller waste-line is to eat Larkburger every day.  That would basically be the worst advice I could provide.  What I will claim, however, is that even though the Larkburger may have had more calories than what we were giving to our children, they are in fact better for our bodies.  Our bodies are ill adapted to consuming the additives in many of the foods that define the American palate.  So much so, in fact, that our world is now defined by chronic illness and obesity.  When our bodies cannot process the foods that we provide it, the implications include altering the bacterial environment in our gut, which researchers are finding is enough to spark weight gain.  Other implications include illness contracted as a result of salmonella (some believe that if our food animals were fed a grass and vegetarian based diet that it would nearly eliminate salmonella). 

The bottom line here is that when we are sick, we are sedentary.  And as we move through life, seemingly leaping from one illness to the next, there is virtually no time between bouts of the ick, work, kids, school or whatever we have chosen to fill our days with to make our health the focus it should be.

Our favorite burgers, even the all natural ones, are still something that should be consumed as a treat, nothing with this much saturated fat is good to eat regularly, however, choosing to put natural, whole foods in our bodies is a great place to start a journey to health.  You may find you have more energy, better cognitive ability and a better overall mood.  Perhaps, these changes will be motivation enough for a timid newcomer to the Happy Running Movement to take their first uncertain steps in a new pair of overpriced Saucony’s and trot, run, scoot or shuffle down the road towards their first mile!!

Happy Running!!

Rob and Jess

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Perfect Example of "The Body Won't Go Where the Mind Won't Push It."

Sunday night around 7pm I went out for a run, this was going to be my first long run of the marathon training season...a solid 10 mile trek!  I knew it was gonna be a rough one because there was still choppy frozen slush covering the sidewalks and the temperature had crept to a frigid 12 degrees.  I geared up and went out.

It was a miserable run, I was cold and wet and still recovering from my runs in the middle of the week.  Each time I head out in the ice, I have several brushes with certain death as I hit a black ice patches or step on a chunks of ice in the middle of the sidewalk.  Despite these dangers, I usually have a pretty good time when I put my feet in motion.

This run was rough.  I found many spots of slush were not frozen through and I spent the first 3 miles plunging foot after foot into semi solid muck that caused slippage with each step and enough splash that my legs to my knees were sopping wet.  After hitting a city maintained section of street things became tolerable for about 15 minutes.  Then I turned and headed east and the wind was blowing right in my face for the next 2 miles, causing brain freeze even through my knit running hat.  The backstretch was a long bit down 28th street in Boulder that stretches about 3 miles and it was during this section that my legs began to tighten, my body began to ache and I felt my energy reserves depleting very rapidly.  The ice and slush was relentless.  Once I finished with the Broadway section and I realized I had only two miles left; I felt a rush of energy and resolved to finish strong and picked up my pace.  Unfortunately, that last two miles took me through a neighborhood that was not as familiar to me as my usual stomping grounds and I ended up lost looking for the path I was supposed to pick up to head home.  I eventually found my way and I arrived home in time for me to collapse on the couch in a heap of sweaty, nauseous, gasping humanity.

It took about two hours for the nausea to diminish and I immediately looked forward to next weekends 12 miler.

Running is not about getting through it painlessly.  Running is not about sprinting over city sidewalks with a big stupid smile on your face.  Running does not get easier.  Each week I am lucky to have one run out of five that makes me feel that elusive peace and oneness with my body and my surroundings.  The other 4 runs each week could be and usually are  pretty much fuck all.  But one each week makes me yearn to get back to that place in my head and body where the world make sense.

Happy Running!

Rob and Jess

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Be Wary of False Claims…Advice for Sifting Through the Social Media Garbage!

Given the topic that we have chosen to write about, Jess and I have scoured social media in the hopes of finding a community with which we can grow.  Our search yielded some really great folks out there, preaching the message of sustainable lifestyle changes to improve body and mind.  We also ran into many people and pages that claim to provide information on natural remedies and health, that in reality are touting information that is either just plain wrong or dangerous.

Stories show up in my Facebook newsfeed every day indicating the best way to lose weight is by drinking lemon water, or that you can cure cancer with cinnamon and honey.  Even from “reputable” sources, we see stories that claim to find “One thing” that is making us fat, unhappy and unhealthy. 

The problem with these claims is that despite what we would like to believe, that we can change one thing or begin doing one thing to transform or heal ourselves, the problems facing those who yearn to achieve good health and fitness are far more complex than any one thing we are eating or doing.  Society is in the midst of an obesity epidemic not because of one act or one ingredient, it is a combination of government policy, social engineering, personal accountability and corporate practices.  Government policies dating back to the post World War II era set the table for our eventual over-consumption of food.  Companies that were at the forefront of the fast food explosion have practiced social engineering through advertising and addictive ingredients for decades and as a culture we have deemed it appropriate to feed our children food that we took no part in preparing for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is because of institutional changes and character changes in American society that we find ourselves sick and overweight.  As a result of this complexity there is no one answer to societies or even one person’s fight with obesity.

Furthermore, the more dangerous of these claims could convince a person who is scared and forlorn after hearing that they have an upcoming battle with a dangerous and deadly disease to turn their back on our medical experts in favor of sipping tea to cure their disease.  Here is the problem, to group all cancers under one umbrella and say “this cures cancer” is incredibly unenlightened.  Cancer is a very dynamic and diverse category of disease.  There is no one cure for all cancers, and as a matter of fact chemotherapy only works because it works to destroy all cells with a commonality such as rapid division.  Thus, the drugs kill all cells with a tendency to divide very rapidly including many cancers, bone marrow cells, hair follicle cells, cells in the stomach lining, etc.  Many who are undergoing treatment feel so desperately ill as a result of the drugs indiscriminate killing of both cancerous and healthy cells. 

The medical establishment understands that treatment of cancers with chemo is not ideal and often causes prolonged lives to suffer a dramatic reduction in quality of life for the patient.  So there is ongoing research to find more targeted commonalities between cancerous cells and to find compounds with which we can fight them.  But, to claim that something as simple as honey and cinnamon or lemon cures cancer is to ignore that fact that there are over 200 types of known cancer all exhibiting either slightly different or very different pathologies. 

In order to shed the weight we needed Jess and I worked diligently to identify credible information and to differentiate it from the garbage that so many so called “health experts” are pushing. 
Some tips on how to differentiate between good info and not so good info would be to do most of your research into healthy lifestyles and weight loss through a resource like Google Scholar, where everything that is published is peer reviewed.  Other good resources for healthy living include Websites for the AHA (American Heart Association) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org)

Good information will lead to good results.  Inform yourself and succeed!!!

Happy Running!!!

Rob and Jess