Why I take Cold Showers

Cold Showers

We have a bad plumbing setup in our house.

I’m not sure if it’s hard to get water to the area we live or if the builder used sub-par plumbing components, but we have a lot of trouble getting water flowing freely, especially upstairs in the master bathroom.

The water heater is not great either. I could easily wait 5 minutes for a hot shower, sometimes longer, and five minutes is an eternity during a rushed morning routine.

One day while running late for work, I decided I was going to say “forget it” and I hopped into a frigid shower for the sake of time.



 

WHOA! The water hitting my skin was a shock to the system. I might have jumped and winced like a girl. Had I just been awakened from hibernation like a bear?!? My whole body was fluttering.

I wanted to wash my hair and body and get the heck out of there! No wonder we take hot showers instead of cold, because THIS SUCKS!

After getting out of the shower – teeth chattering, body shaking, skin red – I tried getting dressed and went about the rest of my day, surely thinking I’d started off a bad day. Showering in cold water was a tough thing to do that day, but I began noticing something new.

I felt alert and alive the rest of the day.

Walking into work, I was ready to face the day boldly. I had already gone through the most difficult part of my day, so what could be worse than a cold shower? I began to fear the day’s activities less.

Getting home, I started trying to find articles about possible benefits of cold showers. Surely someone else had done this before and had experienced a similar feeling of accomplishment.

I ended up coming across a man named Joel Runyon. Joel has a business centered around doing the impossible, and he even has a whole system built around taking cold showers, check it out here.

I even found out he did a TEDx talk about cold showers:

I know not everyone will watch this, so I’ll break it down a little. The heart of the message in taking cold showers is to make it a point to get out of your comfort zone on a daily basis.

I’ve been taking cold showers for over a week now, and I think I’m hooked.

Cold showers suck because they are supposed to suck. They teach you to live in the moment of what you’re going through.

You have nowhere to hide in the shower, therefore, you are facing this difficult situation head-on. It relives fear, which is our biggest obstacle to success.

It’s great to know that Joel and his advice is actually changing peoples lives, I hope you’ll try it and see if it will change yours.

Would you try taking a 5 minute cold shower?

Reader Survey Responses!

A couple of weeks ago, Hello, Flecks! put a survey out to all the readers & fans of this blog asking for feedback and concerns with your own health and wellness journeys. (There’s always time to go fill it out at the link here, we love to get your input!)

Firstly, Thank You All so much for the feedback! You are helping us make a better site, one that can help you achieve success and feel great!

Here’s what we heard on a couple particular questions:

 What’s the vision of your perfect health?

Many of you said that just eating regular and healthy, unprocessed foods is part of the vision of your perfect health. Staying away from processed foods and bringing your connection back to mother nature’s gifts is a huge step in itself.

We couldn’t agree more, and we want to help.

It’s important to understand that this may not happen overnight, but it does happen with small steps.

Kristin and I have been on our own health journeys for a long time now. It started many years ago with simply adding frozen veggies to the grocery cart along with the frozen pizza. We started spending more time in the health foods section, even if we didn’t get anything. We scoped out the produce section rather than passing it right by, like I used to.

We didn’t always know what worked for us, but we began with a small task we could accomplish, like finishing a bag of veggies in a week.

As with exercise, you can not jump right into buying all Organic produce & no snacks and expect to succeed. You will burn out. Big audacious goals often take a while to build up to.

in particular for the last several months. If you check out our Instagram you’ll see we’ve been cooking up our meals for the week on #MealPrepSunday.

Sunday is now a day that reminds us of the great and healthy week we’ll be having, which puts us in the right frame of mind for the week.

We realize that healthy living includes things that don’t always come naturally for most people.

These are foundation items that can take a while to set in place.

One small successful step is way better than a failed leap.

The biggest hurdles to your success in health?

We heard this one loud and clear: Time and Motivation

That is something I think everyone struggles with. I’m always pressed for time and I, too, find it hard to get out there and get the workouts in.

While I don’t have a magic wand that can give you more time, I will say that consistency is what has helped me in the past.

To begin, figure out where you have no more than 15 minutes in your day, every day. By starting off with an easily repeatable task, this will build into a habit in about 3 weeks.

Kristin has been doing this with running 5 minutes a day. Yes, five minutes. Some may say that five minutes is not enough time to run, I say that is 5 minutes more than if she didn’t set aside that time each evening. She’s now going beyond the five minutes and is almost up to a whole mile of straight running. I couldn’t be more proud of her.

If you have children, include them in this activity, Please! I was not introduced to exercise beyond playing outside as a child, and I wish I had been.  This is a great opportunity for parents to teach children about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle because children mimic their parents.

If you are demonstrating that healthy food and exercise is important, just imagine how that’s going to set them up for success in a world that is increasingly making processed foods the norm.

As for the motivation, know that it has to come from within. I can’t get you out there to work out or get you to drop the unhealthy habits, but I can try.

Begin to surround yourself with success stories. Check out how others have succeeded in ways that you’d like to, and use their success as a catalyst for your own success.

Just like it does for Kristin and I, motivation must come from within. You can’t do it for your spouse, or your kids, or your friends. You must change for you.

Something tells me that there is some reason for you to want to be healthier. Figure out what that thing is, and focus on it.

 

I hope you enjoyed the survey as much as we did with the responses. This was great knowledge for us, and so I’m very excited to be doing this again soon!

 



Arm-ed with an iPhone

Armed with an IPhone

With the announcements of 2 new iPhones coming out in just days, the Fleck household has been abuzz in cell phone talk this weekend.

We then notice our blood start to boil as our current phones get slower and drain battery more and more. Someone’s got to be doing this on purpose, right? It all sort of feels like a marketing plan to get you to buy a new phone…



America is currently underway with a cell phone plan revolution of sorts. Major carriers are dropping prices dramatically and that means if you’re stuck in a contract, you could be paying double (or more) what you would by shopping around. Take a look at the major carriers and you’ll see that Verizon (our provider) is just about the only company who’s not budging on prices.

So we went to T-Mobile to shop around. In short order, we discovered we’d end up getting more data and no contracts, all for $100 less per month! (And we are on a 20% discount with Verizon, mind you.) I like Verizon, but are they really +$100/mo. great?

I think this trend will continue. I think we’ll see phone prices go down and down. Shop around if you haven’t in a while, you could be saving a ton.

The Decision?

Not that its set in stone, but Kristin and I will probably upgrade, and the next step is to figure out which size phone we want. 4.7″ seems big but still manageable. Is 5.5″ too big?

Apple put a lot of work into creating some great new fitness and health tracking into the new phones, and that is really cool. It would be awesome to have those things work seamlessly in a bundled app.

That’s also what is starting to concern me. The new phones are much bigger and more on par with Android sizes now.

As a runner, I feel like the current iPhone is a somewhat large thing to be working out with, anyway.

If the whole point is to use the phone while working out, am I really going to be strapping a 5.5″ behemoth on my arm like that for every run? Are there case alternatives that now make more sense?

When the super-sized Androids started coming out, I was shocked how big they were, and the people who wore them with an armband running just looked silly to me.

Is Apple going to make wearing phablets on your arm cool? Will we all get used to this?

Let me know what you think in the comments!



Young, Dumb and in Love

Young, Dumb, and in Love

Yesterday was the anniversary of our first date.

We met six years ago at match.com, but our relationship truly blossomed on a little relic called myspace.com (We were both too cheap to auto-renew match.com for one more month at the time!)

After several weeks of emails, Kristin and I decided to meet face to face for the first time. As many online couples do, we chose our first encounter at a Starbucks. I was excited and nervous that day, as was she.

We talked about life after school, the rush and worry of existence that only a young person in their mid-20s could, and cell phones.

(For the record, six years ago I had the Palm Centro and Kristin was in love with the Blackberry Curve 8330 with a pink case)

We’re pretty nerdy, I know.



I had such a great time that day, thinking I could talk to this woman forever and not be bored. She was so much like me, had similar struggles and success like me, and we just clicked from day one.

Our first picture together

Ever the hipster, Kristin had blogs and took selfies way before most of the world knew these were even things. She was as smart as could be about stuff before it hit the mainstream, and so I even learned what a hipster was from her!

Kristin's selfie circa 2008

From an outsider’s perspective of our relationship, it was such a different dynamic, most people did indeed think we were crazy back then, but that was ok with us.

I think we were talking about rings within 2 weeks of meeting each other, and the great Cincinnati Wind Power Outage of 2008 ensured we made haste when moving in together.

 

This past weekend, for our six year dating anniversary, I took us both on a trip back down memory lane by compiling the 1st 30 days of our Gmail chats and making a scrapbook of them all. (thanks Google for wanting to know our entire lives, sometimes it actually comes in handy!) We read it at Starbucks.

Kristin and the Scrapbook

Coffee and Gchats

I had a complete blast doing this, and something really struck me as I read all of the late night messages, giddy conversations and talk of the future with the two of us together.

One singular statement really read true in all of these love letters.

We were idiots.

It turns out we were both not great with money. Messages abound of “spotting” each other tens of dollars in between waves of the feast and famine that was payday.

My favorite text in particular talks about not having enough money for both a loaf of bread from Panera and gas, and how we were actually choosing between the two:

gas or food

Gas won out if I recall. We didn’t have money for a loaf of bread, people.

As is often the case when no one has told you otherwise, we had no clue that we were living our lives in chaos in our mid-twenties.

As the relationship grew, we started facing our money fears head-on. I started working with a budget and telling Kristin how bad I really was with handling money. It was difficult, sure, but it saved us. We realized that we wanted more from our lives and struggling like this was not going to get us there.

Slowly but surely we began to turn our lives around. Not just with money but in all habits. The uphill battling together only made us stronger.

We started treating ourselves and others better. My life began improving because I admitted there was a problem. I started living a life of integrity and a sense of purpose that had somehow evaded me for so many years.

If you feel that you’re stuck and your life is not getting any better, or if you just can’t seem to move the needle enough on a project, know that we all start somewhere. For us, it was making plans to not want for so much and appreciate what we have.

If you struggle, know that there is always something better beyond today. Know that you can make those miracles happen.

If Kristin and I had not kept moving forward in our efforts with money, we would still be where we were at all those years ago. I can honestly say now that we are far better people, much happier in life and live with a renewed sense of gratitude.

We can’t wait to see what the next six years bring.



What’s your Food Kryptonite?

Food Kryptonite

“I think we should get two jars this week, maybe..” I say to my wife, looking like a little kid with the sad, puppy dog eyes.

“It hasn’t even been a week, and you have a half-full one at home!!” she exclaims. “No way, It’s completely ridiculous!”

I can almost smell the anger in the air as she gives me the bull-horned face of rejection. I put the other jar back on the shelf and my mind darts to wondering how I’m going to survive the week, like a junkie with an empty needle.



This is the conversation that happens weekly in aisle 7 of our grocery store. Sometimes I’ll just quietly go to the aisle myself, pick out the container and place it in the cart so that she doesn’t have to deal with the conversation. Why should I ask anyway, she knows my habit.

Better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?

 

Is this some crazy sugar-filled treat I let myself have? An outlier in our otherwise healthy eating habits? Could it be some weird concoction that’s an expensive delicacy like caviar, therefore bankrupting our frugal living?

No, it’s organic peanut butter, and I’m completely and hopelessly addicted.

Yeah right, if only I limited myself to this much at a time.

What usually ends up happening, in reality, is somewhat unbelievable and horrific. I devour peanut butter to the point of excess. One week, I calculated that I could easily average 800 calories a day of peanut butter. That is too excessive, probably… but, I mean, it’s delicious, guys.

Soon after coming home from work, my wife knows that I’ll already be all over the stuff. She’s no stranger to the peanut butter-laden welcome home kiss. We could be on our way to dinner, and I’ll just have a little bit to taste. I’ve even had it for a whole meal while standing up in the kitchen.

What’s the big deal?

We’re not talking about an unhealthy thing here, really.

Organic Peanut Butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A source of good fat, little to no added sugar, and a fair amount of protein. Basically just peanuts and a little salt, right?

The problem lies in my complete dependance on the stuff. Even if it were the healthiest food known to mankind, I should still try to limit my intake of peanut butter just as anything else in life. By keeping a check on my food, I’m able to better balance out the rest of my life, otherwise I’d just be curled up in the corner of the room, rocking back and forth, with dried peanut butter crusted around my lips.

It has easily become my food kryptonite, and it can take down an entire day’s worth of workouts in a single bound.

Over the past few months, I’ve been really trying to stick to one spoonful of peanut butter a day. I’ve found it best to keep myself out of eating more by grabbing my spoonful and then quickly replacing the lid.

This method has really helped me, just by setting this simple control in place.

It’s important to recognize what may trip you up, and not reject it completely. Though I’m getting slowly better at limiting peanut butter in my daily plans, I still allow myself the treat and try to limit and monitor it.

Let yourself have that food that you want, whatever it may be. It feels rewarding. Just be able to recognize when you are powerless over it, and make a plan to include it in your success.

 

Have you recognized your food kryptonite? What is it, and how are you limiting it to achieve success?

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