Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guest Post by Angie: Food, Health and Running

I am "the sister". Alissa asked me to write a guest post a while ago, probably over a month ago. I am now sitting down to write this, on the day she requested I have it to her.

Take a step back. I am a 31 year old mother of three small children, five and under. Now, I think that makes the above statement seem less lazy. Makes me feel better anyway!

My post is going to be about a number of things. Alissa's blog is about living a healthy and active life. I am all about that. Not to say I don't enjoy being lazy and eating unhealthy foods though!
Life is so much about food. Food is social. Food is comforting. Food is necessary. Food is exciting. So we will have to deal with food, ALL THE TIME. We must learn to control, (most of the time). There will be failures. No one is perfect. No one.

Lets start with food, since that's what track I'm on at the moment. I love food. My sister and I were raised by a mother who knows how to cook. We have always loved to eat. All six of us. I was blessed with a super metabolism I suppose. I could eat whatever, whenever without batting an eye. I never worried about what types of foods I was consuming. Looks good, eat it! I'm not even really sure I can pinpoint the point in my life when I did start thinking more about portions and WHAT'S actually IN that? I can say, when I became pregnant with my first child, I definitely became more aware. I didn't want to A.) eat anything that would be harmful to baby and B.) gain any more weight than was necessary. I did however, use the "eating for two" excuse a number of times when I deemed it ok. :) With each pregnancy I think I became more and more concerned about being healthy.

Since then and even more recently food has come under a closer examination in our house. My husband and I both had physicals. We are both "healthy" looking individuals. Neither one ever having weight issues or previous health conditions. I had my physical and full blood work up first. My results came back picture perfect. I do not say that to brag, just repeating the doctors praises. I was happy to hear so I convinced hubby to do the same. He does not like doctors. He was very hesitant to go but did, none-the-less.

His results came back with entirely different reviews. He had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and needed to drop 20 lbs. ASAP. The weight he was ok with. He knew he was slightly over-weight. The blood pressure and cholesterol where shockers. The cholesterol especially. The doctor wanted him on medications right away. Informed him in the next 10 years, his likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack was 10%. Might not seem that bad, I'm sure there are FAR worse conditions - with which I tried to comfort him with. But, at 35, you don't even want to THINK of a stroke or heart attack! We decided together that we would not be hasty to start medications. This was, much to the doctors dismay.

The day after his doctor appoint of doom, I went to the local library and checked out a number of books on the subject. Through research in those books and the web, we found many herbal supplements which help fight high numbers. Over the next six weeks, we were able to drop his cholesterol significantly through diet and exercise. In speaking to a friend who is a friend of one of the highest esteemed heart surgeons in the country, he stated that exercise has the most influence in lowering cholesterol naturally. I believe that. Hubby has since become a runner. He runs at least 4 days a week from 2-3 miles each run. We have highly altered our eating habits. We have exchanged white flour for wheat. We use less butter and oils. We lower our sugar intake in baked goods, cereals, breads and drinks. We buy low fat cheeses. We eat chicken, turkey and fish. The red meat was hard for hubby to give up. Especially when Culver's sends coupons for their double bacon cheese FAT burgers! Those DO look good.

I am very proud of my husband. He really worked hard to change his habits and add mostly-daily exercise in to his week. He did lose the 20 lbs and brought those numbers down to a much more manageable figure. He has another blood test in a few weeks and we will see if things are the same or possibly better.

I am not against medications. I have never had any issues with taking them. But I do now see, sometimes there are alternatives and they are attainable to the general public. Thanks for research done by doctors and scientists and the books and articles they have written, my husband is healthier. (As am I and our children!)

The other subject I wanted to touch on was running. I am a runner. I love to run. I started running when I was probably thirteen. I have a cousin with which I would spend a week with over summer break. She was older and far more mature than I so I looked up to her. She began running when I was thirteen. I have run ever since!

I ran my first 5K when I was twenty-one. A friend told me about a race in their town, which was local to me. I thought, sure! Why not? I had never participated in sports growing up. I really didn't even know what to expect! But let me tell you. I was hooked from that race on. I have since run that race nearly every year. The only reasons I have not were because I was either pregnant or had just had a baby. :)

I love races. They are so motivational. You have this group of people gathered of all levels of fitness. Everyone is so excited to be there. Its amazing.

Since that first 5K, I have run many other 5K's, a 10K, a half-marathon and two full marathons. I think sometimes of all those in my life that I have inspired to run. It really is inspirational. And all this begins with my mature older cousin who taught me.

I want to pass this passion on to my children. Already my kids love going to races and running (rather sitting in the jogger) with me around our neighborhood. I love that my husband runs now too. We are able to run as a family which, had always been one of my dreams. :) Running is an addiction, but a good one.

I have plans to run my third marathon this year. I ran my first two before having children. I am excited about the idea of running one now with my little cheerleaders on the sideline!

So, the moral of my post is - think before you eat, research before you medicate and get some running shoes man!


  1. What a fantastic post! Thank you for your thoughts and your story. It highlights just how important it is to look after your health no matter your size!

    I agree about the running. It is very addictive :D



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