All my life, my neuropsychologist stepmother always taught me: "Rewarded behavior continues." It's a phrase that comes to my mind often. And it came out of my mouth this morning as I babbled to Reid about all the benefits I'd already seen as a result of my new running habit. I feel totally driven and eager to continue running, and to push myself even harder, because I have been amply rewarded. Here are some of the things I've noticed...
1) More stable blood sugar levels. For most of my life I've had to be sure to eat plenty of protein with my meals to prevent a blood sugar spike and crash. Something about getting exercise has shifted my metabolism so that I'm less susceptible to those low blood sugar crashes. It's definitely a good thing! 'Cause I'm not so fun to be around when my blood sugar is low.
2) More energy. This is related to number one, I think. I definitely feel like I have more energy these days. So, strangely enough, my appetite has decreased. Whereas I used to eat for energy, now I don't have that need. I thought my appetite would increase to replace the calories I'm using as I run, but I'm strangely less hungry! I don't know if that's good or bad, but I trust that my body knows what it's doing.
3) A butt lift. Maybe this is more than you wanted to know, but it's definitely something I've noticed. I'm not nearly as tight and trim as Reid (hey, I've gone through two pregnancies!), but I'm definitely noticing a difference!
4) More happiness and patience. Maybe this is a coincidence, but I'd wager it's related. I really have been feeling much more emotionally even and stable over the last week or two. This benefit alone has been the most needed and appreciated!
5) Less torture. I know it's sort of a given, but I no longer hate running. It used to require enormous will power and effort to keep running for a full three miles. It was torture. Now it's a breeze. That's something new to me. I've never ever considered running a "breeze." It makes me want to push myself even harder and higher. This is cool!
All of these rewards, in addition to others, have made me feel more and more clear that THIS is the way our bodies are supposed to feel. I really think exercise was intended to be a part of human existence. When we are "in shape" is when we are complete and whole. I feel so much better overall than I did a month ago. This is the way my body is supposed to feel. This is who I really am. I want to keep feeling this good forever! And I've only been going for a few weeks. I can't imagine how great I'll feel after several months and several years!
Doug, you were right. I'm hooked.