Drink Up

Often when we think about health or fitness, our minds jump straight to diet and exercise. Without a doubt those things are important pieces of a healthy lifestyle, but there are a few even more foundational pieces, and I want to chat about one very important, and too often overlooked, component to our health.

Water.

Yup, that simple / obvious / really Meg?

YES!

The average human body is 75% water. So you can imagine how critical being hydrated is to good health! Let me just ramble a few things:

  • Even just minor dehydration can cause
    • Headaches
    • Lack of energy/ fatigue (water “helps cells complete important enzymatic activities which contribute to good sleep, restoration of bodily systems, and the production of ample energy to get you through your day.)
    • Skin issues (Acne, Dermatitis, Psoriasis, and Premature Aging)
    • Bad breath (water is responsible for saliva production, dry mouth = nasty mouth)
    • Constipation (when your not giving your body enough water, it sucks every last drop from your poop, and when your poop gets that hard. . .)
    • Indigestion
    • Muscle and joint aches and pains (ever had a charlie-horse?)
    • High blood pressure
    • Depression
    • Allergies (when the body is dehydrated, it creates more histamines)
    • Lack of mental clarity
    • Excess weight (water is responsible for the removal of toxins from your body, when we don’t have enough water to safely remove the toxins, they are stored in fat cells. these fat cells will not release themselves and their toxins unless they can safely be removed, with water.)
  • Regularly drinking water speeds up our metabolism and makes us feel more “full”
  • Being well hydrated slows aging, since your organs don’t have to work overtime to compensate for all the things mentioned above

If that hasn’t sold you, check out this infographic

Got Water? Why Dehydration is Making you Fat and Sick – Infographic
Infographic Source: GetSkinnyBeHappy.com

Seriously, I could go on and on about all the benefits of good ol H2O.

Almost two years ago now I got intentional about getting enough water and I can tell you I personally experienced increased energy, clearer skin, weight loss, bloat loss, less craving, and increased bathroom visits (the last a very worthwhile price to pay for all the benefits 😜).

So how much water should you drink? A few rules I have heard are 8-8ounce glasses per day, or half your body weight in ounces (I realize those two suggestions can have drastically different amounts, in this case I lean on the side of “more is better” but any increase in water intake is a great thing, so do what feels right for you!)

Something I have found incredibly helpful in reaching water goals is a trusty refillable bottle. Those of you who know me know how important mine is to me (you could say Megan to her water bottle is like babies to binkies, millennials to their cell phones, drug addicts to drugs etc. etc.)

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I aim to drink a gallon a day (like I said, the more the better in my mind) so I have a 32 oz bottle that I try to drink full bottle over 3 hours totaling 4 bottles in a day.

 

 

Another helpful tip, try to finish your water at least an hour before bed (for obvious reasons).

 

 

How much water do you drink? Have you benefited from increased water intake? What are your tips and tricks?

(For this and more info check Medical Daily, Bodybuilding.com, Natural Society, Heritage Healthcare)
photo credit unsplash

Friday Finds

 

 

Fridays got me feeling all

giphy

Isn’t it funny how long weekends make the week after feel extra loooonnnnnggggg.

I am heading to Pennsylvania this weekend to visit with one of my dearest friends. Visits with her are like water to my soul so, needless to say, I am very excited. What do you have planned?

 

Here are a few fun things that caught my eye this week.

  1. I just got Sarah Bessey’s book in the mail and I can’t wait to read. I feel like this post put my thoughts to words. 
  1. This
  1. It might be a little embarrassing how much time Hubby and I spent playing on here, or maybe its just that awesome. 
  1. Pumps & Iron is one of my favorite fitness blogs, a little tabata is on my agenda for today. 
  1. When you find a recipe that is healthy, easy, and includes the hubbys all time favorite flavor, it becomes a regular on the rotation
  2.  I found this at Anthropologie and jumped on it for Hubby. It’s perfect for him and such a fun idea.

 

What are your finds from the week?

 

photo credit Faith Callamari

Making Space

A week from today is Ash Wednesday.

Every year the beginning of the Lent season takes me by surprise. Pretty much, this is me:

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Fortunately this year I am more ahead of the curve than I have been in the past, even if it is only by a week.

I find the church calendar to be really grounding for me. When left to my own devices, life often plows me over. Do you ever feel that way? Unless something or someone stops you, weeks can pass without intention or reflection. For me, one of those “stopping things” is the seasons of the church. They remind me to take some time and remember the bigger picture.

Lent in particular (for anyone who may be unfamiliar, Lent is the forty-day season of the church year that leads up to and prepares for Easter) gently reminds me to consider my sin, consider the things that may be stealing my joy and getting in the way of relationship with the Lord. It encourages me to dwell on the sacrifice of Jesus, and nudges me to sacrifice as well.

On Ash Wednesday when a person goes to receive ashes they are told “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” With that in mind I will spend some time considering the mist that is life. I will really dwell on the foolishness of letting the cares of this world take precedence over the relationship with the One whom I will spend eternity. I will get specific about habits and mindsets that take up the space that should be given to that relationship. I will weep for the time wasted.

Then for 40 days I will seek to remove some of those habits by fasting or practicing new habits that make room for God to change me.

A friend of mine put it perfectly, “The point isn’t to take on this extra religious baggage or withhold something just so I can pick it up again after 40 days, the point is to make the space to be in his presence and to be transformed to look more like Jesus than I did when the season began.”

So where can you make space? Perhaps there is something you can fast from, maybe social media, maybe TV, maybe blog reading (but not mine of course  ). Or maybe there is a discipline you can practice, waking up early or staying up late to pray, actively practicing Sabbath, regularly volunteering. (there are some great ideas here, here, here, and here) But like Tim said, it is not about the act itself, but the space it creates. So perhaps it would be helpful to start backwards. Where are some areas where God needs more space? Are there any places you find you are pushing him out?

For me, I don’t give God the space to be my comforter. Instead I distract myself from my emotions. There are many ways I do this, but chief among them is suffocating feelings with food. So, I intend to spend the next 40 days cutting out snacks and removing distractions at mealtime. The hope is that the times I would normally snack would be spent enjoying God, and in the moments where I want to run to food, I would run to prayer instead.

Do you have plans to participate in Lent this year? I would love to pray alongside you. Would you pray for me as well?

photo courtesy of upsplash

Adventure

Hey there.
I have a little treat for you. My sweet hubby has written a guest post for this week! I think this will be a monthly staple around here, so what should we call it? Hubby’s corner? Blogs with Bob? Shoot me some ideas friends.
Sit back and enjoy some soul lifting, heart challenging, dream inspiring words from one of the greatest guys I know. 

 

 

You may or may not know this about me, but I am a low-key geek.

 

Actually, you would only know this if you know me very well. I’m pretty good at holding a conversation about a host of topics that would be deemed far from geeky, like sports and personal fitness. But I also grew up reading the Chronicles of Narnia by flashlight until 2am. I spent an entire Saturday with my brother and friends watching a marathon of all three extended versions of the Lord of Rings trilogy; a grand total of fourteen hours well-spent. I joined a Dungeons & Dragons campaign and found myself Live-Action-Role-Playing (aka larping) with a nerf sword and a catcher’s mask against an imaginary Soul-Wraith. I skipped prom to play The Hobbit on my Gamecube and slay two packages of Oreos. I played the boardgame RISK so often by myself, my parents decided it would be in my best interest to purchase a computer edition so that I could at least interact with AI.

 

The list goes on and on, but the point is that I absolutely love being a citizen of Nerdom. Recently, I decided to feed the beast of my geeky cravings and snagged an audio book from the library that would fix me up; The Fellowship of the Ring.

 

There is nothing quite like your forty-five minute commute being filled with hobbits, cave trolls, dwarves, elves and a quest to save the world. As the first of three books that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote about Middle Earth, this book will always have a special place in my heart. And I don’t think I truly realized how special it was to me until I began listening to it again on the way to work just recently.

 

Somewhere along the way of Frodo escaping dark riders in order to complete an unexpected mission, I let loose an internal sigh and began to dream about what it would be like to be called into such an adventure. Isn’t that the allure of adventure stories? You live vicariously through a fictional character whose rather mundane life is turned upside down unexpectedly and is forced to change and be something that they never believed they could become. A forty-five minute commute is forty-five minutes too short if it is filled with stories that you wish you could be living. Especially on the way to work.

 

But what hit me was this; why not live a life of adventure? Why sit in a car daydreaming about stories and fantasizing about what it would be like to be there with Frodo and Gandalf, when I could be dreaming about the very adventure that lies before me once I park my car and head into my place of employment? What is stopping me from living life passionately and deliberately, choosing to see life as a story and a grand adventure?

 

These questions are only further compounded by a conversation that I had with a colleague earlier today about life. We had an incredible dialogue about life, about the rut of monotony and feeling unfulfilled. It was fascinating to watch him search for the words to describe what he was looking for. “I want an adventure,” he finally managed to say. Well-spoken.

 

Perhaps for him or for you, adventure might mean a career change or moving to a new city or starting something that you never dreamed was possible. But perhaps it simply means changing your perspective rather than your actions. Only you can answer that question.

 

For me, I may not meet a cave troll or be asked to carry an all-powerful ring into the darkest regions of Middle Earth, but I will be confronted by conflict, surrounded by friends and given an endless set of choices as to how I will use my time. I will be tried and tested in both the mundane and the spontaneous. I will grow in my craft and hone skills that have uniquely been given to me. I will suffer tragedy and celebrate triumph. As the chapters unfold, I will change and others will be changed by me. And if you skip to the final pages, I hope that you will find that my story found its meaning not in anything that I did, but that I knew the Author and that He knew me.

 

Are you living a life of adventure?

 

What would have to change for you to begin living deliberately and finding satisfaction in your story?

 

Where do you want your story to take you and who do you want to become along the way?

 

My literary hero, CS Lewis, said something absolutely profound about people and about life. He said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” Let us keep those words in our mind as we go about our day and live our stories fully. And let us remember that about ourselves.

 

You are not ordinary. You are not a mere mortal.

 

 

photo courtesy of Unsplash

 

 

Walking towards

I am just going to put it out there.

I am not qualified to be writing spiritual posts.

The feeling of inadequacy is a real theme around these parts.

I mentioned before that I am an “extrovert-in-exile.” I suppose that exile has left me feeling really unstable, unsure of myself, and left wondering what I have to offer the world.

My husband and I got married with one semester left to go in college. We were barely graduated when hubby was offered a position in his hometown. So, we made New Jersey our home, full of thankfulness for such a huge blessing of provision. With student loan debt (and no strong direction from the Lord) I decided to keep praying about further studies while diving into the work world.

A woman with an undergraduate degree in theology is not exactly a hot commodity, so I knew finding a job in my field would be unlikely, so I searched wherever I could. The doors opened for me to take on a position as a nanny, and it was a dream! I have been a nanny for the last several years. I LOVE my job. Like truly madly deeply love what I do. The littles I have had the blessing of caring after, and their sweet families have enriched my life in so many ways.

 

But…

 

I hate that there has to be a but, and I wish there was a way to have a but that didn’t feel like it discounts all the beautiful, wonderful, gratifying, and joyful aspects of my life as it is. It doesn’t have to right? There is still so much beauty, so much thankfulness inside me, but with the sunshine comes the shadows.

 

But… I never imagined New Jersey would be so hard. I never imagined leaving the Christian college bubble would feel a lot like losing a leg. I certainly did not consider that being a nanny would put me in this interesting limbo where I don’t quite fit in with the rest of the working world and I don’t quite fit in with real moms, oh and I am taking care of a kid so the space I have for social interaction is pretty limited.

So it’s hard to say how it has happened. Did the dryness with God heighten this isolation and loneliness I have felt for the last few years, or was it the loneliness that made me feel abandoned by God? I don’t really know, and I am not so sure it even matters to be honest.

What I do know, is that it feels like the last few years have been a spiritual winter, it feels like I have little of value to offer because most days my heart feels frozen.

What I also know is that all those feelings are real, but what is more real, what is true, is that the Lord does not abandoned us, He will never leave us or forsake us.

What I do know is that my experiences are enough.

I know that God has uniquely created me.

I know that He has gently guided me to this leap of faith, this blogging experiment in the hopes that something about this odd extroversion of sharing my heart within the confines of this introverted season may break some chains and bring some healing.

I know that though I don’t feel qualified, God often uses the most unexpected people. So perhaps, even as I stumble in search of spring for my battered spirit, this journey, this vulnerability, may be of value to someone out there like me.

So I feel unqualified because of the dryness, because I have let self-pity allow me to neglect my soul. But I know that as I walk toward God, He runs to meet me. So this is my walking towards, with fear and trembling but with trust that as I come, God will come too, and that maybe you and I can link arms and walk toward together. What do you say?

photo by Kimon Maritz

 

F that…

 

 

I feel like my fitness story is not a conventional one.

I also realize I don’t necessarily “look” the part to be posting workouts.

 

But I am just going to take a moment and say F that.

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you this feels horrifyingly vulnerable, but it also feels important.

 

Fitness is not about looking a certain way.

It is not about hating your body.

It is not about reducing the load of your gravitational pull on the earth.

 

It IS about loving and caring for the one body you have.

It IS about empowering yourself.

It IS about finding your reason and going after it. In this moment, for me that reason is reducing the weight of depression, and being a significantly more balanced human when I make space to decompress through movement.

 

So about that “not looking the part,” that is a real vulnerable spot for me. I know there are people out here who will judge, maybe make fun of me, but if I am going to be sincere with you, “practice what I preach,” then I have to say (and live out) it doesn’t matter.

I will never forget, I was out shopping with a friend, and started thumbing through workout clothes and found something I liked that wasn’t available in my size. I did the ladies shopping-together-thing and told my friend with a groan of disappointment, to which she replied “I guess they think only skinny people work out.”

Okay okay okay, I know that was a rough thing for her to say, I may have shed some tears over it on the way home, but in her defense I think she just spoke too quickly. But it’s true isn’t it? We all have this expectation that the kind of women who exercise have a specific body type, could happily go days without eating, and when they do eat it is exclusively spinach salad with grilled chicken (hold the dressing please).

I think part of the reason we have this image is that women like me, and maybe like you, feel too intimidated to put themselves out there, to take up space in that world.

Well, humbly, I am over it. I have dragged my heels starting this thing because of that intimidation and I am done with that. I have found too much joy and healing through fitness to hide because of the way I look, especially when that isn’t even close to the point.

So in the future, come by these parts and join me for a nice decompression session (like what i did there?) No stereotypes here, all are welcome, let’s get after it together.

 

What is your fitness story?

What is your why?

What do you love about your body?

What kind of movement makes you feel good?

January Heart to Heart

 

Do you mind if I set the stage for these monthly meet ups?

I think we will call them heart to hearts (unless you can help me think of something better? It’s not the most original is it?)

So this is your invitation to a standing date, once a month, just to catch up. What’s been happening in our worlds? Where are our hearts at? How are we processing the month that has passed and what are our dreams for the one coming?

Could you do me a favor, and pretend with me for a little bit. Since its been so darn cold these last few days, we will meet up at my place this month. Lets wrap our hands around a nice warm cup of our favorite hot drinks (I am in the mood for coconut milk latte), and we will cozy up under blankets on my comfy green couches.

Oh friend. It’s so great to see you again. Thanks for taking some time out to spend with me. It really means the world to me that you came by.

How are you? What has been going on in your world?

January was a little nutty for us, but like honey roasted cashews kind of nutty (as in nutty in the best way). We were so busy but life-giving exciting busy, you know?

After the holidays we joined a whole bunch of friends in taking on Whole30. This was actually our second time doing it. Have you ever done Whole30? It’s a dietary reset program aimed at healing your body and revealing food sensitivities you may not even have known you have (you should check out their website).  I feel so good, I am seriously considering sticking it out through February, in which case you will be hearing much more about it in posts to come.

Bobby always raves about how good he feels on it, but pizza is his kryptonite. He caved on day 20 at a school event where he had to eat said pizza without any hands, after spinning around a bat (in his defense it was for a good cause, and under those circumstances I am sure he didn’t enjoy it).

I can’t even process all that’s going on in our world right now. I feel like this month, to spite all of the wonderful experiences we have had, the state of our country is just this lingering fear, sadness, confusion, heart ache, darkness. I am not sure how political I want to be on here, but it’s been so heavy, and its so serious, I can’t say nothing. My heart hurts for so many people, people that I know personally and I don’t, that live in real fear now. I’m sure this won’t be the last thing I say, but for now this is as much as I feel safe sharing so publicly while we are still getting to know each other… maybe this is cowardly… could you spare me some grace?

Half way through the month one of my closest friends (who happens to be my sister-in-law) shipped California to begin her adventure at YWAM. Bobby and I were able to have a dinner-prophecy-prayer party before she left, and it was amazing. Maybe I will write a separate post with some details for that in case you ever wanted to do something similar. God really blessed us and her in that sweet space we made for him. We all asked God for a word that we felt He had for her regarding this time in California so we could share and pray it over her. We made this for her to take with her and remember. img_4742

Bobbys birthday was this month and we celebrated for just about a full week. I wrote about his party here if you want to check it out.

February is shaping up to be amazing. We are going to a couple of concerts and I am SO EXCITED, but I am going to leave you guessing who until we meet next month (or until you see it somewhere else on the internets).

I have a week off, so I am hoping to spend a few days in silence and solitude, maybe on the beach. God and I need some good exclusive time, but if I am honest it scares me a bit. I don’t always like myself that much (I am working on it) and I am afraid God wont show (silly fear maybe, but it’s there nonetheless). Would you pray for me? Do any of you have some tips on how to do this well? Have you done a personal retreat before?

My big sisters baby shower is this month, and I get to decorate! I can’t wait to celebrate her and my future niece!!

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I’m digging into this blogging thing for February. Taking a swing to see if maybe there is a little seed of passion there, let’s see if it grows?!

How was your January?

What are you looking forward to for February?

Are you reaching for any dreams or goals this month?

(header photo courtesy of my incredible sister-in-law)