Being the Bean: Finding the Healthy Balance in Hot Water

I sat there on a stool at Fleet Feet, in front of about twenty or so mostly new faces holding a carrot, an egg and a jar of coffee beans. Now typically when I talk in front of a group at Fleet Feet, I know most everyone. We would of just come back from a run.

This time was different. I felt raw, yet it was a magical moment.

I was asked to share a condensed version of my talk as a reminder to those that attended the Kick Off for the Savannah Slim Down but also for those that were not able to attend. Some of the stories were left out, but I would love to share this story again!

Being the Bean: Finding a Healthy Balance in Hot Water.

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I love the story of The Carrot, Egg and the Coffee Bean. It talks about how you handle adversity; are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

What would happen if you placed the carrot, the egg and the coffee bean in hot water?

The carrot which started out so hard and hard would turn to mush.

The egg which had a fragile shell would turn hard on the inside.

But the bean, oh sweet coffee bean, would change the water.

Think of the boiling water as the adversity you face in life and for this particular “conversation”, your health and fitness journey.

I shared in my talk, that while growing up I was an active kid, but I couldn’t get a hold of my eating. I was hard and strong on the outside due to my outgoing personality but on the inside I was all mush. I never felt comfortable in my own skin.

Even in college, I swam (D3 athletics) and I was invited to a picnic. I had clothes pouring out of my closet, but nothing fit. I was around 198 pounds.

I wore sweats on a 80 degree day. I literally sweated my ass off, but I played it cool. Pretending like no one would notice if I just joked around.

I wanted to crawl in a hole.

Carrot, I was the carrot.

After college I moved around a little…. Key West, Florida > Portland, Oregon > Savannah, Georgia.

Oh, Savannah, I love you.

I am surprised I didn’t die in Savannah about 6 years ago.

No, really. Like die.

I placed an ad on Craigslist for a run partner.

And I lied.

I said I was a 10- minute runner for like 5-6 miles. And I was barely a 12-13 minute mile runner for 2-3 miles. At least I had the female part right!

So thankfully a female (Charlotte, who I still run with today and she is freakin’ awesome! Hey girl!) showed up and she had also lied on her ad. We made a great team.

I not only feel in love with running in Savannah, but the town. Her people, her sense of community and giving back, her beauty.

I also fell in love in Savannah.  

A few years into our relationship we got married in the most gorgeous wedding and reception downtown. On the honeymoon, things began to unravel quickly. I started to run more to let the pavement listen to me. To listen to the fact that I just made the biggest mistake of my life. To have the pavement catch my tears and soak up my fears. I kept the mush of the carrot from everyone until the very end.

We got divorced 10 months later.

The carrot turned into an egg.

I used the egg’s thin protective shell to protect me from rude comments about my divorce but I was also hard on the inside. For the first time in my life, I didn’t turn to food to help me get through this hard time but I turned to running, counseling and friends. Over time… my egg turned into a bean.

Being the Bean. (#bethebean)

I really feel like my divorce was my life’s turning point. I sat down and reevaluated a lot in my life and I needed to look back in order to look forward. Again, re-read that line. Look back to look forward.

It wasn’t until I started this process that I began to change my water. To really be the bean in my fitness and health journey.

Now, I have been the bean a lot in my life. Just not throughout my fitness journey. I’ve been it at work, or through my volunteer efforts etc. And being the bean is not a one-stop shop, there are days I am part bean-part carrot. It’s an everyday journey and I am so happy that I am on it.

So here are my tips to Be the Bean:

 Food: In a world of convenience

Write out your battle plan: look at your whole week and schedule your meals & snacks accordingly.

Plan a day to meal prep

Pick foods your actually like!

Try new recipes or host a recipe swap (in person or online)

I believe that diet is a four letter curse word. Eat to fuel your body. Don’t fall for the hype. My weight didn’t come on overnight and it didn’t come off overnight. It look me a while to lose the almost 50 lbs (I am currently up– working on the down right now)

Friends: We all have some

FaceBook: join groups on FaceBook that promote healthy recipes or walk groups to keep you motivated. Or create on for your friends and post weekly challenges

Join a local group: WalkFit, Bootcamp, SlimDown Savannah are all available with Fleet Feet

Make Appointments: You wouldn’t cancel on your boss? Don’t cancel on yourself or your workout buddies

FITTE

Frequency: working out 3-5 times a week

Intensity: break a sweat

Time: are you a morning or night workout person? Invest the time in you for 30+ minutes!

Type: mix it up! Do Zumba one day, swim another, walk one!

Enjoyment: if you don’t like the type of exercise you do, you probably won’t stick with it!

Preparation

I wasn’t ready emotionally for the fallback after my car accident and ankle surgery. I wasn’t allowed to run for while, but I could have aqua jogged or biked. But I didn’t, it wasn’t running. So I gained weight. I mentally wasn’t ready. Prepare for the fallback before it happens. Have healthy snack options ready to go. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Random Tip

Keep an exercise journal so one day you can look back to see how far you have come. You WILL surprise yourself!

So remember, as you continue on your health journal or take that first step, wake up and smell the coffee. Go Be the Bean!