Kedges.

Yesterday, I started another 28 Day Kick The Sugar Challenge. This means that for 28 days, I won’t put any processed food or sugar into my body. Only real, whole ingredients for me…for 28 days.

I need this re-set.

It is time.

Have you ever felt that way? Where you KNOW you need to do something? To get back to something? Have you heard that still, small voice inside, guiding you towards something?

Ever since hitting my rock bottom and experiencing a complete life-change through sobriety, I have enjoyed maintaining a level of health and fitness that feels good to me. I rarely miss a workout and I prefer nutritious food over junk. I prioritize my sleep and I practice meditation, yoga and mindfulness in order to manage my stress.

I am inspired to live well because it makes me feel…alive!

But April was a crazzzzzzy month for me, and, in fact, so were January, February and March as I brought The Healthy Brain and Body Show to life. It was a tremendous undertaking and I am proud of the work, but, if I’m honest, it took a toll on my health.

During those crazy few months, I worked hard to eat well. I planned meals and prepared in advance but my sleep suffered. I burnt the candle at both ends, going to bed later and getting up at the crack of dawn. Early on, I came down with a nasty cold, and I am someone that almost never gets sick. I was under a lot of stress–mind you, it was eustress, the kind that pushes us to accomplish the task at hand, but it was stress nonetheless. And I would find myself working through meal times, so I’d be eating at all sorts of weird hours. And instead of hour-long sweat sessions at the gym, I resorted to 15 minute body-weight workouts in my living room.

Things have settled down and I am back to a more normal routine, but I need a re-set. I need to get back to my familiar rituals.

It’s time to come home to myself.

The Kedge.

In Chris Crowley’s book, “Younger Next Year“, he refers to the concept of “kedges”, where we set lofty fitness goals that requires planning, training and preparation to achieve. Like a marathon, for example.

A marathon is a kedge.

It just so happened to be “race weekend” in Ottawa last weekend with the full marathon being run on Sunday morning. On Saturday night, Roger and I came across last year’s marathon being replayed on our local TV station. Although neither one of us is a “runner”, we couldn’t take our eyes off the event and ended up watching the entire thing! (Well, we watched until the first twenty or so runners came in) because it was incredible to watch those people push themselves far beyond their comfort zones and achieve such a lofty goal. I mean, a marathon…running for HOURS…running 26.2 miles–42 kilometers–that is one amazing kedge!

As we listened to the announcers talk about “pace makers” and “pace rabbits” and “controlling the gap” along with all sorts of other terms I hadn’t heard before, I realized a few things:

First of all, I realized I know very little about running in general, and essentially nothing about running a marathon.

Second, I learned that the marathon is not the thing. I learned that planning, preparing and training for the marathon is the thing. 

Preparing for an undertaking of this magnitude–sleep, stress-management, nutrition, hydration, training and fitness–must be prioritized or else these runners will not be able to achieve their goal.

I learned that all runners have a Personal Best, or “PB”, that they are trying to beat.

I learned the value of experience. Many of these runners have run marathons before. They know when and how much to drink, how to pace themselves, and how to conserve their energy for the long haul. This knowledge gives them an advantage over less experienced runners.

I learned that conditions play a crucial role. For example, course strategy (the way the runners approach the course based on how it is laid out, placement of the water stations, etc.) and weather (temperature, cloud coverage, wind, humidity, and rain) among other things, and while these conditions are often outside a runner’s control, they impact their mental and physical state, as well as their performance, profoundly.

I was reminded that, like anything in life, we get to decide where we want to spend our mental and physical energy. And while I am not sure that I will ever choose to run long distances–because I don’t have a passion for running and I don’t choose to focus my energy on it–it was powerful to watch people achieve something so monumental.

To Be Inspired

They say that life isn’t a sprint…it’s a marathon. I truly felt the impact of that analogy watching the runners last weekend.

I realized that these incredible humans didn’t need to be motivated to run; I realized that they were inspired to run.

The marathon was the culmination of days, weeks, months and in some cases, even years, of training. And while those runners might have needed motivation (perhaps the upcoming marathon itself) to get up and run on cold mornings or rainy afternoons or when they would rather be sleeping or hanging out with friends or eating pizza–it was their inspiration to run that kept pushing them forward.

Because those runners feel more like who they really are when they are running than when they are not running. 

Because they feel most alive when they are inspired, or “in spirit”.

And they are in spirit when they run.

And so they run.

Put another way, motivation might sound like “I should get up and go for a run because if I don’t, I won’t be prepared and if I’m not prepared, I won’t beat my PB”.

Inspiration, on the other hand, is how their eyes sparkle when they talk about running. It’s that antsy feeling they get when they haven’t gone for a run in a few days.

Running is what lights them up. 

Running is what inspires them.

It’s a subtle difference, but an important one.

Because we are often seeking external motivation to do an internal job!

We can look at motivation as the “push” (this is something I should do) and inspiration as the pull (this is my calling). Or, simply, motivation comes from the outside and inspiration comes from within.

And as far as I can tell, these people, the ones who choose to put themselves through this incredible feat of human performance, are inspired–not motivated–to run for 42.2 kilometers.

There is something else, something deeper, that is pulling them through the pain and discomfort of running a marathon.

The announcers spoke of it regularly: “You can see him grimacing. He is really hurting right now.”

“At this point in the race, the finish line just seems to keep getting farther away from her.”

“He is in a world of pain right now…”

Something inside of them was pulling them through. Their calling was calling.

I learned a lot watching that marathon, and it reminded me that while I might be motivated to achieve this “kedge”–my 28 days without sugar–because it is healthier for me to do so (my knowledge of food tells me so) and I know how much better I will feel (my experience reminds me of this), I am inspired to do this because I am passionate about health and wellness. Nourishing and nurturing my body gets me excited. Sharing my passion with you inspires me. It is my calling.

It lights me up inside.

It will be easy to lose motivation—when I am tired and haven’t prepared properly or just don’t feel like doing it anymore–and I will draw upon images of those runners for motivation; thinking of them in a world of pain, knowing that this is just part of the journey…a part of the plan…and knowing that this too shall pass.

But it will be my inspiration for living in a way that makes me feel proud. A way that gives my life meaning. A way that keeps the fire lit within me. This is what will push me forward.

We are all born with inspiration.

As a young girl, probably 11 or 12, I would come home from school and pretend I was hosting a cooking show where I prepared my little recipe (often it was a bowl of Cream of Wheat or a grilled cheese sandwich) and I would talk about how healthy the ingredients were (hey, this was over 30 years ago, remember!) and how good this food was for my body…and I would have the time of my life making myself an after-school snack.

I was inspired.

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you will know that I went a long time without connecting back to this part of myself. I felt like I didn’t know what inspired me for a very long time. But I believe that our most important job is to go within and find it! 

And you’ll know when you’ve found it.

It will feel right. It will sound like “Oh, there you are!” It will feel like…coming home.

And if you don’t think you’ve found it…keep looking.

Because we get to create the life we want to live. No one else gets that privilege.

And living in a way that keeps us excited–that keeps us feeling truly alive–is like no other feeling.

So go within and remember…what has always been there? What has always interested you, even if you’ve almost forgotten? What have you always loved, even if you’ve learned to love other things? What is it? What’s there?

And then get to work planning and preparing all you need to do to get yourself closer to your goals.

Because I want you to live in spirit.

I want you to be inspired.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. If YOU would like to join me for the 28 Day Kick The Sugar Challenge, it’s not too late! People start challenges all the time, and you’ll be in great company in our private Facebook group. Simply order the book and when it comes, decide on your date!

P.P.S. OR, why not ease into things a little and enroll in The 6 Week Sugar Freedom eCourse! If you would like to uncomplicate your relationship with food, and do so with a group of like-minded people who will support you, then I encourage you to join us here

P.P.P.S. Let’s be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. For joining, you get my personal meal plan, shopping list, and a week’s worth of easy, tasty recipes. http://sarahtalksfood.com/

 

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