Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rewarded Behavior Continues (a Lani post)

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.


Reid said...

Your "babbling" this morning was music to my ears! I was already excited that you started running, but to hear that you are really enjoying it and seeing the benefits is totally awesome! Way to go!

Doug said...

I always tell people new to running the trick is to learn to love it, then do what you love.

It sounds like you have the first part down already, nice going!

Run For Life said...

That's awesome! :) I'm still trying to convince my family members to take up running (or any exercise, for that matter.) I think I'll show them this as yet another example, haha.

nwgdc said...

great post! it's all so true, but we can only tell people...they'll just say "yeah yeah yeah" until they actually experience it!

Shilingi-Moja said...

This is an excellent post. I hadn't really thought about the blood sugar crashes -- I've really cut back on sugars and highly processed carbohydrates over the last 5 years and that has been a really good change for me. But, the others really resonate. Granted, I wouldn't state #3 in exactly the same way, but running took 5+ inches off my waist and a comparable amount off other places.

It took almost a year of running before I could say that I enjoyed running for running's sake. Now, after another almost 4 years of running, it has really hit me in the last couple of weeks that I'm in so much better shape than any time in the last 25-30 years. Even hills that were a drudge just a couple of months ago don't wear me down.

When I finished my run this morning, my wife asked me if I had done a long run. I had to stop and think about that. I had run a 7.3 mile tempo run and couldn't decide if that qualified as a long run. I, too, am hooked.

Welcome to the club of the hooked!