In high school, I ran on the cross country and track teams. The tradition before every competition was to have a team supper, where we gorged on pasta and rolls — trying to “carb up” before the big race.
Now, when I train for a race, I think about my pre-race meal a little bit differently. Instead of focusing on carb-rich foods, which might give me a burst of energy, but will ultimately leave me feeling flat and lethargic, I now focus on getting protein-rich foods not only on race day but every day.
Being active goes hand-in-hand with being healthy, and in an effort to promote beef as a healthy and real alternative to these products, many state beef councils across the country are starting a Team BEEF. While I’m not a member of my own state’s team, I do have a Team ZIP (zinc, iron and protein found in beef) jersey that I wear to my races. The jersey has a steak on the grill on the front and the back, and it’s not uncommon to hear calls for “Beef, Beef, Beef,” as I run by race fans.
I’m really proud of how many individuals I know across the country, who happily put on their Team BEEF jerseys. In fact, you can score your own at www.TeamBeef.org.
Now before you think to yourself, “I could never do that.” Think again. There are countless Team BEEF success stories of 50 plus farm wives losing lots of weight, regaining their youthful figures and running their first 5Ks as Team BEEF members. Like me, most of the training for these folks happens on the ranch. Instead of training at a gym, how about running up and down some pasture hills? Or, running back and forth from the house to the barn? Or sprinting to get tools when your husband needs one? (I’m sure all the men are thanking me for that one).
There are so many ways to be active and healthy — without owning a treadmill or buying fancy protein shakes.
So, what’s my healthy regimen? Here’s how I feel strong and stay fit, even when I’m busying sitting on my butt writing columns.
First, I eat well. I consider food as fuel. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune response to gluten — the protein found in wheat. This rocked my world, and suddenly, I didn’t know what I could and could not eat. It felt like wheat is in everything! But, that’s when I started rethinking my meals. I started from fresh. I was lucky to have a garden full of produce, so I started preparing lots of meals with the vegetables I raised and the meat in my freezer. Suddenly, I felt great, and the automatic weight loss that followed from eating well and avoiding things my body was allergic to sure was a great added bonus, too.
Once I started feeling better with my diet and started to get stronger from my gluten-free lifestyle, I got back to doing my favorite thing in the world — running.
In my cross country days, I would easily run 7- to 8-miles five times each week. I’ll admit that isn’t happening anymore. And, even though I’ve run a half-marathon in the past, I have found that I can easily settle into a routine of training for shorter distances like a 5K or a 10K, plus it’s a lot less difficult to get friends to join in, too, verses the long races.
So, the final thing on my stay-healthy list of things to do is to have fun. If an exercise or diet isn’t enjoyable, it won’t last. I’ve tried it all — zumba, yoga, pilates, running, walking, kettebells, meditation, you name it. And, I feel I’ve tried every diet under the sun to lose weight and keep it off.
But now, I have found my secret bullet. I eat beef, and I walk or run instead of jumping on the four-wheeler when I’m on the ranch. It’s simple; it’s enjoyable; and at the end of the day, I know it’s not some fad diet, it’s a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. ❖
So, the final thing on my stay-healthy list of things to do is to have fun. If an exercise or diet isn’t enjoyable, it won’t last.