Choosing Apples Over Chocolate

I almost cheated on my orthopedist yesterday. It was completely premeditated. The reason I didn’t actually cheat was not because of any virtue on my part. I wanted to cheat, I was ready to cheat, then at the last minute, I didn’t cheat because a friend needed my company.

Meditations in Motion

Let me explain. I am “technically” not supposed to run, on orders from my orthopedist, until I can stretch my leg so that it forms a 90-degree angle with my body. I am almost there. When I first started stretching, I could probably get to about 110 degrees; now I am at approximately 91 degrees. So close.

My hubby, trail running friend Al, and two other friends were meeting to run around a lake near our house, a five-mile loop, on Friday. The weather was warm, the sun was shining, the company was good, and I am so close to my goal, I decided I would run along with them. I reasoned I could walk if my hamstring injury began to hurt during the run.

We began our run at a slow pace, following the road that hugs the lake shore. After about eight or nine minutes, my friend Eileen slowed to a walk, holding her side. She had shoveled snow earlier in the week and strained a muscle near her ribs. Taking deep breaths caused by the exertion of running resulted in extreme discomfort.

We all walked for a few minutes, then the guys in the group began running ahead and circling back to us. I walked with Eileen for the rest of the loop. We wound up taking a shortcut that eliminated about half a mile from our normal course but the guys did the entire five-mile loop, plus a little bit extra from all that circling back to us walkers.

Meditations in Motion

I didn’t mind walking with Eileen. In addition to preventing me from cheating on my orthopedist’s orders, it gave us the opportunity to catch up. Eileen, my first yoga instructor, hasn’t been running since she fractured vertebrae while cliff-diving during a yoga retreat in Mexico last year. She is now mounting a running comeback. Did I mention that Eileen will turn 70 this year?

In addition to being a phenomenal yogi, Eileen is a tremendous runner. When she was in her 50s, she decided to run her first marathon. The marathon she chose is listed in Runner’s World as one of the 10 toughest in the U.S. Eileen not only won the race (and collected $1000 in the bargain), she qualified for Boston as well.

Eileen teaches yoga and nutrition at a community college, follows a vegan lifestyle, and has traveled throughout the world. I am fortunate to consider her a friend. The characteristic that is most impressive about Eileen, however, is the intentional way she lives her life. She has a certain set of beliefs and lives in strict accordance with those convictions.

Meditations in Motion

I, on the other hand, tend to be somewhat flighty, taking the easy way out of too many situations, choosing chocolate over apples all too often.

When we live intentionally, we know exactly why we make the choices that we do, and we make those choices according to a set of rules written on our heart. If we are momentarily unsure which direction to proceed in any given situation, intentionality induces us to pause and check those internal tenets, then make our decisions based on strict adherence to our inner guidelines.

Meditations in Motion

Living intentionally requires a laser focus on making each moment matter. We don’t fritter our lives away with television, Facebook, or any of the other distractions that suck our moments away and send them swirling down the drain of time. Intentional living is what makes us KonMari our homes and do things the right way, rather than the easy way.

Each moment that passes us by is a moment that we never get back; time, of course, moves in only one direction. We are literally spending each second. Living intentionally imbues each of those moments with significance before they slip away forever.

Oh, I am a champ at introspection, but a dud at intentionality. I can look back at events that have already occurred and intuit their relevance. I have trouble looking ahead and foreseeing pitfalls. I am thoughtful; what I am not is disciplined.

It may seem counterintuitive for a distance runner to say “I am not disciplined,” but trust me on this, I know; there are many reasons why I run, but discipline is not one of them.

Meditations in Motion

One characteristic both intentional and introspective individuals have in common is stillness. We have the need for quietude in order to reflect. Living lives of near-constant busyness and stimulation leaves no room for rumination. We must carve out a quiet niche of time for thought, meditation and/or prayer to receive insight.

I would like to bring more intentionality into my life, to walk in faithfulness, rather than busyness, to do things the right way, rather than the easy way, to choose the apple rather than the chocolate. I have some thoughts on how to go about doing this. One of them is scary, which makes it exceptionally appealing.

I am going to do a “Sundown Fast” each Friday during Lent. Each Friday from March 8 through April 19, I will not eat anything until sundown.

The reason for fasting is to bring intentionality to the forefront of my attention. The discomfort of hunger will serve to remind me of the quest for discipline. As a runner, I believe the axiom “train to your weakness.” One of my biggest weaknesses is patience or lack thereof. Fasting serves as a reminder of the need for patience.

Fasting prompts us to lean into a higher power, to build confidence through reliance on something bigger than ourselves. It is no coincidence that several religions advocate the use of fasting to focus our attention on God.

I am hoping that the tiny seeds of discipline planted by this fast will grow and thrive in other areas of my life too. My aspiration is to choose apples over chocolate more often. Maybe if I had more discipline, I wouldn’t even be tempted to cheat on my orthopedist.

 

I am linking up with Shank You Very Much for Dream Team and Global Blogging, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, Hooks and Dragons for Mix It Up, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Purposeful Faith for RaRa, Char at Trekking Thru, Kooky Runner for Tuesday Topics, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, Meghan Weyerbacher for Tea and Word, Deb’s Random Writings for Keeping It Real, Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday, Coach Debbie Runs  for Coaches’ Corner, Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love, Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, and My Random Musings for Anything Goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

106 comments

  1. Wow what a great post. ❤ I love your friends teachings and your focus on living intentionally . Enjoy the fasting. I have dabbled a little in intermittent fasting recently and loved it. I bet those apples will never be tastier 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “she fractured vertebrae while cliff-diving during a yoga retreat in Mexico last year”…. that sentence alone is something you will never see in the mention of my life 😉 hahahaha
    Eileen sounds pretty incredible. & inspiring. I love this post. I feel myself so many times in a DAY fall with the struggle of intention. This was good motivation to make it a change of lifestyle… FOR GOOD!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laurie, I salute you in your quest for increased intentionality. I fritter way too much, but I also think a certain amount of frittering is just plain fun. I am glad that the angels of your better nature, however they manifested, prevented you from cheating on your doc 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a fantastic read! First, Eileen is a tremendous lady! Secondly, you made so many good points. Such a well thought out and written article. I appreciate your “Sundown Fast.” What a great and physical way to create more intention. Thanks for taking the time to write this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your blog. Your posts are beautifully written and I often find them thought provoking and inspiring. I don’t comment as often as I should but please know that if I “Like” a post it was because I read and enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your yoga instructor/friend Eileen sounds amazing to me Laurie. Growing up we never had meat on Fridays in Lent and Good Friday. I decided in 2010 to not eat meat all year long on Fridays. I’ve been good about it – it makes you feel good to abstain and keep at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She is an amazing person! Good for you, Linda. we used to typically eat fish on Fridays when I was a kid. Now, 2 or 3 of my dinners each week are usually meatless. Bill and I don’t mind at all. It does make you feel good!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mom was not a fish eater Laurie, but she would make salmon croquettes during Lent or Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks. She did not like fish at all. I don’t mind going without meat – it is better for you. How is your son’s gout – you and I had commented on it when I sent you the post I wrote after I found out tuna was bad (salmon was not) and the lunch meat turkey was bad (chicken was not). I am still amazed at this fact because I thought I was eating healthy!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What is Konmari? Time to Google and find out. Eileen resonates with me. I’d like to think I have quite a bit of discipline in my life and I do my best to live intentionally. I’ve done intermittent fasting between the hours of 12pm to 8pm. I don’t eat after 8pm. Nice to learn a few things about you in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am doing intermittent fasting now between 11 and 7. I have been reading about KonMarie in so many articles lately! I hope you Googled it. Thank you for your comment, Yvonne!

      Like

  8. I have thought about doing intermittent fasting but think I will wait until i’m done with my Invisalign treatment. As it is now I have to wear them at least 22 hours a day so I already feel pretty restricted when it comes to when I can eat meals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am doing intermittent fasting now between 11 and 7. I like it. I needed to get rid of a few pounds. I can understand why you would not want to do it with the invisalign.

      Like

  9. You really do have the most amazing friends! I think that speaks to your character, too; I have a feeling that you are way to hard on yourself. 🙂

    Me, I like chocolate on my apples — why yes, I do, and often eat them that way (but not always). I have actually been working some on intentions myself. The hardest part is keeping it in mind — but I don’t think you’ll have that problem with fasting.

    I fast once a year on Yom Kippur, and I sometimes dabble a bit in intermittent fasting, but on Yom Kippur it’s hard. I get crabby, I get a headache, and most years we end our fast a little early (although last year we went all the way).

    I hope you get out of it what you want!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Judy. I do have amazing friends! They keep me on my toes.

      Oh, yes!!! Chocolate-covered apples. The best of both worlds. Why am I not surprised that you like chocolate on your apples? 🙂

      I am doing some intermittent fasting now to try to shed a few pounds. That’s what gave me the idea to try a longer fast. Now I eat only between 11 and 7. I can imagine getting crabby during your Yom Kippur fast. I get “hangry” sometimes too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, actually I when I say chocolate apples, I mean with almond butter and just a drizzle of chocolate. I often have that for a dessert!

        Some people swear by IF, I’m not so sure it really does all that much for me. And I’m never really vigorous about it, if I’m hungry earlier I eat earlier.

        And other times I just really need fuel early, so I don’t do it — although even then I’m still “fasting” for 11 or 12 hours, that’s just my norm.

        Hope it works for you!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie, I so appreciate this post! in some ways, I’m really good at being intentional, and in other ways? Ummm, not so much. But I’ve found, that if I don’t set my mind to something, I’m not going to succeed. Your idea of a fast for the Fridays in the Lenten season sounds like a good one. My theory is you’ll learn more than just discipline. 🙂 I look forward to hearing more about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post, Laurie. Chocolate versus an apple. Interesting dilemma. I have wanted some chocolate since V-day. I did not have any last week, so I settled for a chocolate frosty from Wendy’s for the first time in months. I love to do my intermittent fasts. There have been health benefits both physical and spiritual. I enjoy my specified time with God. My mother is recovering from knee replacement surgery so I can relate to the degrees thing you referenced. She cannot drive or be by herself until she can bend at a certain angle. I believe this time has taught her some patience and the feeling of dependence is always a great reminder that God is in control. May God continue to bless your rehab. Have a fantastic week of “walking” and be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been intermittent fasting for a week or so. I eat only between 11 and 7. I want to drop a few pounds. Sending good wishes and prayers for your mom. It took me a while of working at it before I could stretch to the 90 degree angle I needed. Also trying to learn patience from the experience. Thank you for your comment, Horace! Blessings to you.

      Like

  12. Apples are definitely one of my favorite fruits! I think I’d usually choose em’ over chocolate (although I’m currently kinda craving unhealthy foods, haha). Eileen sounds awesome! Good luck to you on the fasting and living more intentionally! :]

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Another thoughtful, inspiring blog! Eileen sounds like a wonderful friend and a big inspiration. I can’t imagine cliff diving… I hate heights! Good luck with your fasting; I am someone who gets “hangry” rather easily and I’ve found with my increased workouts I need to have something to eat roughly every 2-3 hours or else I get headaches. I have heard there are a lot of health benefits to fasting though I’m not sure if that applies to athletes who are training for specific events?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tracy. Eileen is an amazing woman. I can’t imagine cliff diving either, but she is fearless! I am doing some intermittent fasting now, trying to lose a few pounds. I get “hangry” once in a while too. If I was marathon training, I certainly could not do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. You have me so intrigued! We had a guest speaker at church, several years ago, who lead a class on fasting. Although my discipline with dieting is sub-par (thankfully, I haven’t been on too many restrictive diets, though), I think I could do the sundown fasting. I have gotten in the habit of fasted-cardio workouts, for most days, and they have been a great fit for me. Thanks for all your inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually never had to diet before. If I noticed my weight creeping up, I would run a few extra miles and my weight would go back down. Between getting older and my injury forcing me to cut back on running, my weight has been creeping up. I am currently doing intermittent fasting. I eat only between 11 and 7. That’s what inspired me to give the more stringent fast a try, but just once/week.

      Like

    • Thank you for your very kind comment, Shathiso. Eileen is definitely an amazing woman. I am so glad I got to know her! But I still choose chocolate over apples many times. 🙂

      Like

  15. I love this post. Well, I usually do. It’s so on target. And true. I always wonder about people who do things without knowing why they’re believing what they’re do. Reading about someone who inspires you because they know what they do, and why, is inspiring. Good luck with the fasting! Watermelon, grapes and pineapple supposedly make fasting easier (and break the fast on light foods)

    Liked by 1 person

      • Good!
        To be honest I’ve never noticed that eating more beforehand helps fasting but I’ve learned from experience that I shouldn’t eat anything too heavy immediately after. Even just eating a bit and then eating more later.
        Love and light

        Liked by 1 person

    • Living an intentional life is HARD! I am actually inspired by my kids too. They seem to do a better job of living intentionally than I do! Eileen is an absolutely amazing woman.

      Like

  16. Here’s my second attempt at commenting…not sure where they’re going or if I’m not “replying” correctly LOL Anyways, I have never done any “real” fasting (other than the night before a doctor’s appointment), but I have heard such great feedback on it. We had a guest speaker (several years ago) lead a class on fasting at our church. That sounds like a perfect thing to do during Lent, given the season and why we honor it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Eileen is my new hero, though, after reading your description of living intentionally I know that I am far away from living my life that way. I also choose chocolate over apples far too often (and get caught up in Facebook for far too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Laurie, Eileen sounds like a little powerhouse and what a fine example of how living life with intention can make all the difference. Like you I am more introspective, but I’m happy with that. I hear that apples and chocolate go well together.

    Thank you for sharing with #keepingitreal.

    xx

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “Oh, I am a champ at introspection, but a dud at intentionality.” Oh how I love this! And it is so me! So very reflective, but so very bad and the action. LOL. Thanks for the great post!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!

    Blessings,

    Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I am definitely not intentional and I have very little discipline. I’ve been trying harder at those things, but it seems to make me slightly frazzled. I keep my house neat and tidy, and always very clean. Seems like that is the only area where I always have it together. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Is your injury any better now Laurie? It must be quite frustrating having to sit out from the run, but we definitely need to give our body time to heal when it needs it. I love your reflections about living with intent. I’m going to have to remind myself this – because it’s so easy to let the day run away if you let it when you are unfocussed. Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam xx

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I really, really enjoyed this post, I can relate to so much of what you say and that battle of discipline and patience. I too choose the chocolate way too much over the apple because I am not thinking I am just reacting to my craving. So happy you linked up #ABloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Eileen sounds like a brilliant lady – and an inspiration too! Good luck with your plans – I’m not sure I could ever choose an apple over chocolate!
    Thanks for sharing with #pocolo

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m not a runner but I can relate to the choosing chocolate over apples.
    Sugar is definitely my weakness and I must get a handle on it.
    I’ve been thinking to try to fast sugar for lent. What I need is to have stock some snacks that I can eat, especially for taking medications.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I have a simlar struggle. I’m great at introspection. In fact, I feel like I’m constantly in that introspective, deep thinking mode. However, when it comes to consistent discipline or intentional living I flounder – a lot. Up and down, up and down. I hope to choose more apples over chocolate too. I’ve been thinking about doing a day of fasting every week with Lent but hadn’t commited to it yet. Then reading about your commitment helped me make the decision. Thanks for sharing with us at #LiveLifeWell. I couldn’t help but to feature your post again this week. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yes. Jessica, that is me too! I am hoping that fasting helps me to remember to be more intentional. The funny thing is, my kids live such intentional lives. I am constantly amazed and inspired by my adult children! Let’s encourage each other with our fasting. I will begin mine this Friday!

      Like

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