The Family Practice

family life is a practice in balance and flow

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Mental Strength Conditioning

I have good news: my kidney infection is just about cleared out! I spent the afternoon at the doctors office having some exams and tests done. The positive is that the antibiotics are working just fine and my kidney infection is just about over. However, I still have some stuff going on that they can’t quite explain. I should get some test results back in the next few days and we’ll be able to see whats going on. Its nothing major – its not like I’m waiting to hear back if I have cancer or anything like that – just some girly stuff, hormone stuff that has been giving me all kinds of trouble.

After being poked and prodded for a couple hours, I knew I wanted to treat myself my family to an extra nice dinner. I made Dill Salmon, which is one of my favorite salmon recipes, and paired it with roasted green beans and shrimp cocktails. I don’t know about you but whenever I make seafood, I feel like we’re super fancy – especially now that we live in Utah and good seafood is hard to come by (trust me, this filet I managed to find nothing to brag about – IF YOU LIVE IN UTAH, might I recommend that you pick up your seafood from Harmon’s – I wasn’t near one of their stores and had a hard time finding any salmon, let alone decent salmon). That being said, our meal was still very good.

To make this salmon: simply place the salmon filet on a piece of foil, sprinkle with black pepper, fresh cut dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wrap and bake for 25-30 min on 350 – until fish is flaky but not dry.

I also prepared the green beans in foil just so I could use the same pan and make clean up a little easier. I added a teaspoon of olive oil and two chopped cloves of garlic – wrapped and baked alongside the salmon.

Talk about super easy!

We decided to go out for a leisurely post-dinner family workout. Nick took the boys in the double jogger to run, while I rode my bike.

I’m pretty sure Nick’s work out was anything but leisurely since our neighborhood is full of hills and he had all the weight to push but my bike ride was fairly easy and was a great “let’s see how we feel about this” kind of a ride. I’m not supposed to be pushing it too hard with the exercise thing until my kidney infection is completely gone. I felt good though, so why not?

We paused at the top of one of our hills to enjoy the view as the sun started to disappear behind the mountains.

As I was riding up and down the hills, I realized that I have really improved my riding skills even in just a few rides. I used to hate the hills and dread them from the moment I left our driveway. Of course, I love the “whee” celebration I get to have on all of the downhills but I absolutely hated that upward push. And I was terrible at hills – slow, breathing all over the place, not maintaining a straight line. I have forced myself to continue going up these hills even when I’ve wanted to get off my bike and walk. (I should mention the hills in our neighborhood are monsters – there is nearly 1,000 foot change in elevation between our house and the main road.) Anyway, my point is this – I’m getting better! I’m starting to actually enjoy the hills because I can really feel my legs working hard, the blooding pumping and once I crest that hill I get this immense feeling of accomplishment. Every hill is a victory.

Last week, I saw an ad in a magazine for “mental strength conditioning.” The ad was for Griffin Hill and here is their sales pitch:

“Before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Heather McPhie was ranked #27 in the world. Then she met Dr. Craig Manning, Griffin Hill Mental Strength Coach. Six months and 25 sessions later, Heather was #2 in the world and on her way to the games.”

I was intrigued because even though I grew up knowing all about the “power of positivie thinking,” I had never heard of mental strength conditioning or coaching. I checked out Griffen Hill’s website and it doesn’t give away too much info about the “how” or principles behind their practice. So I instead turned to the internet for some answers. Turns out the gist of this is something along the lines of improved self confidence, clarity of thought, harnessing stress and anxiety, relaxed concentration – all of which come together to help you overcome plateaus and deal with the twists and turns that become game changers.

Most everything in fitness is a mind game. Every time I see those hills coming, my mind starts complaining “great, this is gonna suck.” If you have ever gone for a run, you know that your mind will tell you that you are “done” long before your body will. Another great example of this is the contestants on The Biggest Loser. Almost all of them end up having some sort of psychological reason behind their weight gain and once they can shatter those thoughts, the pounds really start dropping.

And even though I know that its all a mind game, I still hear myself say things sometimes like “I’m not a good runner” “I’ll never be able to do the big hills” or “I can’t go that fast.” Why do I do that? I mean certainly, I’m no outstanding runner today. But why can’t I be? Why can’t I go that fast? Why can’t I bike those mountain passes?

I think getting out and putting in the work on the pavement is really only half the battle – getting my mind to join me is the other half. Getting my thoughts to line up with my intentions.

I am becoming a good runner. I am getting faster. I have an opportunity for greatness.

These are the mantras I should be running to/ biking to/ swimming to. These are the thoughts I should hear in my pulse. Let the mental strength conditioning begin!

What do you hear in your pulse? Is your inner voice defeated or building you up? What will your new mantra be?

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Conquer the World

Happy Thursday! Man this week has been flying by! Does anyone else feel like it was just Monday?

I have to apologize for the lack of evening posts this week. The days have been long and I haven’t wanted to skip out on what little family time I get just to sit down and type up a post. However, we have had some pretty great meals this week so hopefully I’ll get some time soon to share all of those.

Workout

I also can’t believe how quickly this 3 Week Arm Challenge has been going by. We are already more than half way through, tomorrow being the end of week 2. I do have to say that even though it has only been a total of 9 (including today) workouts, my arms are already looking pretty dang good. Are any of the rest of you on the challenge seeing/feeling results already?

For those of you not on the challenge, stay tuned! I’ll be sharing the before and after photos of each of our “official” participants – one each in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

Today, the challenge called for shoulders and triceps.

Breakfast

I get to enjoy a lovely breakfast this morning at a little bistro near the design shop. Yes folks, today is an all-day event at the design studio…

And with that, I’m off to conquer the world.

Or at the very least my Thursday to do list :)

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Why Sleep is as Important as a Workout

Man, yesterday was a long day! I had a meeting up at Park City and by the time I left it was snowing, ice on the road and dark out – took me almost three hours to get home. I hate driving at night because I have really bad depth perception in the dark and I really don’t enjoy driving in the snow for all the obvious reasons as well as my accident back in January. Apparently though, these reasons are not compelling enough for me to get help driving at night. Ahem. Moving on.

Workout

This morning I was just loving my cozy bed a little too much. I guess all that snow driving yesterday has left me craving the warmth and comfort of our bed. I ended up sleeping a bit too long to get out for my run and be able to get the kids to preschool – which Nick usually does but he is not feeling well.

I still had plenty of time to do my weights as part of the 3 Week Arms Challenge. Today was straight arms and for some reason I was feeling extra pathetic today. I wanted so bad to sub in a lesser weight but I pushed on and finished the routine with all 10s.

Breakfast

Once again, I packed a nice breakfast and lunch for myself only to leave it on the kitchen counter. What’s up with me lately? Garhh…

I grabbed a few things at the grocery store quick (along with an iced coffee to perk me up a bit). Today is going to be another long day. Not that yesterday was bad or that today will be bad – just lots of hours, lots of driving, lots to do. I can’t complain too much though because today, like yesterday, actually holds some pretty fun tasks for me. If I’ve got to work (and I do) these are the things I would much rather spend my time doing. Job site visits/inspections, contract negotiations, client meetings…. So much better than taxes!

Why Sleep is as Important as a Workout

Because life is all about balance (read: all things in moderation) it can be just as unhealthy to go overboard working out as it can be to not workout at all.

A little activity each day is infinitely better than “binge” workouts over a short time frame.

But my point for today is simple: you need your rest just as much as you need your workout.

*WHY I WORKOUT*

Sometimes these are competing priorities. For instance, I wake up early to do my workout or I stay up late to squeeze in my weights routine. Whatever it is, exercise oftentimes competes with sleep.

I get up at 5am each morning in order to get my morning run in, on days that I go swimming I get to sleep in just a tad later. After putting in my hour+ commute into work, working a full day, driving home, doing dinner, family time and all that – its nearing 8:30/9 and it’s time to get the kids in bed. At that point, I want nothing more than to veg out in front of the tv, computer or a good book. I most certainly don’t want to feel obligated to exercise (which is a good reason to do it in the mornings).

But I can’t do it. At least not every day. I’ve done the whole wake up at 5 every weekday thing and without fail, somewhere around Thursday afternoon, I am tired, cranky, and burned out.

At that point, I’m no good to anyone – including myself. I’m mentally not in the game at work, I’m too tired to be a fun or engaged parent, I’m a less than awesome wife to Nick and I’m so tired that I don’t even care to take time for myself doing things I like. I simply want to crawl into bed and be left alone.

Clearly, that program doesn’t work.

So, somedays I simply don’t get up. I let myself sleep until it’s absolutely necessary to wake up and get ready for work. On those days, my hope is that I will come home and do some sort of worthwhile exercise but I know that even if I don’t, it’s OK – I know that sometimes rest is just as important, and sometimes even more so. Everything in moderation.

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All the Time in the World

This morning I woke up thinking I had all the time in the world to hang out, have some coffee, go for a run and get ready for work. I had gotten up earlier than usual and I figured why not sit back and relax a little bit before heading out on my run? I even had this grand notion that “wow, this is so nice, being up early and taking my time is sort of like a bit of ‘weekend’ before work.”

Just kidding.

I had totally forgotten that I left my car at Nick’s work which meant that I needed to ride in with him this morning. Nick popped my “weekend” bubble by reminding me that I needed to be ready in 15 minutes. Eek!

I was already in my running clothes so I decided to just pack my work stuff and go for a run after he dropped me off at my car.

Anything to get those miles in!

Workout

1 mile run in the middle of industrial Ogden. Outta my way semis, I’m running on this road! Oh, you’re not getting over, okay, I’ll run in the ditch.

And the 3 Week Arms Challenge calls for an arms and shoulders routine which I’ll be doing as soon as I get back home.

Breakfast

Unfortunately, in the mad dash to get my stuff ready in time – I left my breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks on the kitchen counter. That meant breakfast today was a Triple Hazelnut Latte (iced because its practically summer time ha!) and a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks.

I’m not complaining about an excuse to get a morning latte. Not at all :)

Now is perhaps a good time to discuss why I work out in the first place.

Why Do I Work Out?

Simple: because it makes me feel better.

But let’s go back a bit shall we?

I’ve always been ridiculously skinny. Now before you get mad at me or want to tell me how jealous you are that “thin comes naturally” to me, you should know that it wasn’t an easy road for me throughout junior high and high school.

Being stick straight thin has its own challenges and insecurities.

For one, the constant comments “you need to eat!” “you’ll snap right in two!” “Are you sick?” “Do you ever eat?” “No guy wants a girl without any meat on her bones” “You look like a ten year old boy” “Your so skinny it makes me sick”… the comments get old.

For some reason, we’re not supposed to comment on people being overweight. Its mean to say things to someone about being heavy and we are supposed to tread lightly with our words. But when it comes to skinny, we can say anything and everything. There is this idea that because you are skinny, that these comments can be made without fault. Let me tell you one thing: it’s just as hurtful.

When I was in probably eighth grade, I randomly caught the tail end of an interview with Cameron Diaz. She had been training for a role in a movie (I want to say Charlie’s Angels but I honestly don’t remember, nor do I remember who was interviewing her…) and what she said really hit me.

Growing up, she had felt much the same way about her body. Had endured many of the same taunts including the infamous “bean stalk” remarks.

Cameron Diaz is gorgeous.

She felt this way? She feels this way?

Wow.

She explained how kickboxing and other workouts she was doing for the film had really help her with her body image. That she was rounding out – giving shape and curve to a once boney frame.

So I thought, “That’s it! I’ll work out!”

And I started in. I had always sort of followed suit when my mom was working out at home, but now I was going to give it my best effort.

I even got a membership at Bally’s. I should have known at that very moment that I was headed down the wrong path and things would go awry.

The man that sold me my membership actually said to me something along the lines of “I don’t really understand why you’d even want to work out. Someone as skinny as you, you have nothing to lose, if I was that skinny I’d leave well enough alone.”

But I did it anyway.

Then at school the taunting got worse. “You’re working out?! Jesus Kim, you’re skinny enough already.” Further questions/rumors/gossip over whether or not I had an eating disorder ensued.

Kids are mean. I constantly refuted the idea that I was anorexic by saying things like “You eat lunch with me every day, you’ve seen me eat!” This only shifted the focus from anorexia to bulimia. The idea that since I actually eat a ton, I must be sick because how else I could I possibly stay this thin?

It was extremely frustrating. And I was sick of it.

I just quit exercising. Period.

I was in cheer and then track but I never did very well at either. For one, I wasn’t properly fueling my body because I was continually trying to prove “SEE I eat!” by eating everything in sight and never outwardly expressing an interest in “eating right” or “eating healthy” for fear that it would only ignite the eating disorder rumors once more.

I also wasn’t training in any real manner for either sport because of the whole “what are you exercising for?!” dilemma. There was no way I was in any position to be a real athlete.

But now I do exercise.

I’m not really sure when this shift in my mindset occurred but I’m sure it sprouts from my time at college – gaining independence and freedom from all those rumors and gossipers of high school, gaining a sense of self confidence and learning to love my self.

Working out is not about skinny.

For me, it is about strength.

Not strength in the sense that I can lift 100 lbs!! (I can’t) But strength in the sense that I push myself to go farther, faster, harder – and I do it. It takes work, effort and commitment. I set goals and achieve them. New goals and work towards them.

It’s about strength in myself. In trusting that I can do all that I set out to do.

So why do I workout?

It makes me feel stronger, feel proud, feel accomplished. But also: I sleep better, my skin is more clear, I am happier, I think and focus more intently….

Because it makes me feel better.

And to be honest, Cameron Diaz was onto something: my boney little self is rounding out rather nicely :)

Why do YOU work out?

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…and Now I’m Singing the Lion King Song

Good morning! Man I always think that Mondays are going to suck but this is two weeks in a row of having a fabulous Monday. Let’s keep this trend rollin!

Workout

I really did not want to wake up this morning (remember how I anticipate Mondays being a crap day? Yeah, that doesn’t help me roll out of bed in the morning…). But I managed to drag myself out of bed in time to do my weights, catch the sunrise and go on a run.

It’s back to the 3 week arms challenge and today called for shoulders and tris.

I have been running in the pitch black darkness the past two weeks so this morning I was really excited that it was early dawn and the sun was just making its way over the mountains. I decided to bring my camera along on my run just in case there was an awesome shot of the sunrise worth capturing.

Turns out, there was a lot more to be seen than just the sun! (Does that sentence make anyone else think of the Lion King? “There’s more to be seen than could ever be seen, more to do than could ever be done…. In the circle of life…”) No? Just me? Okay, sorry, I’ll stop.

Elk! I counted 17 during the course of my run. Pretty awesome way to start my day if I do say so myself :)

Breakfast

I packed myself a Chobani Champion (stolen yet again from Mackenzie), a banana and some cucumber water.

I’m trying really hard to drink more water but I just get so darn sick of the plain, blah taste. Yesterday, I added cucumber and lemon to my water and I ended up drinking 10 of those tumblers – just refilling the water each time. I’m trying it again today.

And the winner is….!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in my little giveaway challenge. So many of you guys had great ideas for using Chobani in different foods, even drinks! I wish more of you could win but alas, only one person can be chosen.

Congratulations to CLAIRE for winning the Chobani Challenge Giveaway! I used a random number generator to determine the winner:

Claire, I’m so excited to “accept your challenge”

Curry sauce is right up my alley! We make curry dishes at least once a week so I can’t wait to put something together using Chobani.

Claire please contact me with your shipping information so we can get your yogurt out to you right away. You can email me at thefamilypracticeblog[at]gmail[dot]com – thanks!

And because there were so many great suggestions – I’ll be working my way through the comments to at least attempt ALL of your clever ideas. So be on the lookout for your recipe in the not so distant future! Like, as soon as tonight!

Alright folks, I better get jamming on my busy work day! See ya for dinner :)