Monday, June 15, 2015

Adjusting Expectations

It's Sunday morning, and I am home from church. It is pretty quiet here. There is a light rain falling, and I can hear the birds chirping away.

Meres is in bed sleeping. She woke up early this morning in a coughing fit. Not sure if it is a summer cold, or summer allergies. There is enough germs and pollen and junk floating around, that it could be either or. So, I gave her medicine, put Vicks on her chest, steamed her up good in the shower, and put her back to bed. And she is still sleeping away.

This girl never stops. Ever. Except when she is sleeping. Which means that I rarely wake her up, unless it can't be avoided. Or unless, like last winter, she is getting her 11-12 hours from midnight to noon. Then we start ooching and scooching those hours around. Waking her at 8:30, so she will go to sleep before 11:00. (well, actually 9:30 or 10)

Anyway, this all has nothing to do with what I am writing about-only why I am writing right now...

Way back around April 1, (right after I made it through an entire month without chocolate!) I decided that I was going to up my water intake.

Like-way up.

For many years I have aimed to drink 3 of my water bottles per day-which is about 60 ounces. During the winter, when I am cold, and not generally as thirsty, that is quite the goal.

But, during training season, drinking 60 ounces is not anywhere near enough to counter all the water lost through sweating.

I decided to up my water drinking to at least 5 bottles per day (100 ounces). And, I don't think I have hit lower than that since April1. I usually drink at least the 5, with sometimes a 6th thrown in for good measure.

It has been good.

I will put it right out there-drinking water has not led to weight loss. Which is what people always claim. I'm not carrying water weight (what is going in, is going out), but neither has the scale budged at all.

I think if my goal was to lose weight by drinking more water, I'd be sorely disappointed. But, I do feel better. I feel toned, strong and healthy. Which has a lot to do with the training and the water drinking.

My skin isn't clear and pure as the driven snow. I still have days when I wonder why my face looks like a teenager's, but all around, it is more clear. The water is flushing out toxins and plumping up the skin cells. Despite all my time outside, my skin is not as typically dry as it is in the summer.

I'm not getting dehydrated on my runs. Which is an amazing thing. I sweat a ton (read: drip and pour) when I exercise. It is very easy to get dehydrated. But, because of all my water intake, my body is drawing from a storehouse-practically it's very own well. No dehydration. Which means that my muscles hurt a whole lot less, and recover a whole lot sooner.

I have more energy. I don't know why, but fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Conversely, being hydrated allows more energy for living life.

I think we often have ideas about what certain actions should produce in our lives. We are told that exercise and drinking water lead to weight loss. But, when we don't see those exact results, we can get a bit discouraged.

But, it doesn't mean there are positive results happening from these practices. We just need to open our eyes to more than a number on the scale. Which is a challenge-isn't it?!

When we got home from Spain in February, I weighed 2 more pounds than I do right now. I was nice and rounded from eating their amazing bread and ham. I was determined to get that scale number down at least 10 pounds, to my more favorite weight.

And no one can say that I haven't worked at that goal. I've run hours and miles a week since the end of February. I've drank my water. I've eaten pretty healthy.

And, like I just said-I'm down two pounds. TWO POUNDS!

If all I was looking at was the scale, I'd be drowning in a puddle of disappointment.

This is the dialogue I struggle with on my journey. The scale versus other results. Maybe your dialogue sounds a bit different, but often the bottom line is the same. Contentment with our bodies. Working hard or settling.

The running, swimming and biking are all paying off. Just not in the way we are told to expect.

Maybe it is time to adjust my expectations. Not give up and settle for the mom body. Still set and meet goals. But, also embrace the whole picture of fitness in the body I have. Celebrate the progress.

Focus on the whole picture. The defined thigh and calve muscles from running and biking. The shoulder muscles from swimming and biking. The slimmer core from running, swimming and biking. (and drinking buckets of water.) The faster runs and bikes. The built up endurance. The hydration and the tan lines. The cathartic properties for all things mental.

It's all contributing to a more healthy (I was going to say well rounded, but I decided that was a poor choice of words...) person in all the realms-physical, mental, spiritual.

How do you need to celebrate, focus, adjust and embrace today?