One More Holiday Cocktail

Before I leave you all for the Thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to add one more holiday cocktail.  Funny enough, I don’t drink a lot of cocktails.  So I am not sure where my inner bartender has been coming from lately.

I was at Target last week and came across Silk Almond Nog.  I have always liked egg nog, but not so thrilled about what it has in it.  However, I love almond milk.  And at 45 calories a cup, this stuff went right into my grocery cart (I have serious issues at Target).

Rock isn’t a huge fan of nog but I encouraged him to give this a try because the flavor is much more subtle than traditional egg nog and also has that great nutty flavor that comes with almond milk.  He agreed that this stuff was a definite winner.

My mom and I started thinking of fun ways to add this to the holiday menu and she suggested adding some brandy.  My dad’s side of the family likes to sip on brandy in crystal snifters.  I don’t see them doing it much anymore but when special occasions come around, it seems to reappear.  Rock also thought substituting the brandy for whiskey would make a nice holiday drink as well.

Spiked Almond Nog:

1/2 cup almond nog

1-2 ounces of brandy or whiskey

Nutmeg or Cinnamon



Rim the edge of your cocktail glass with a nutmeg and sugar or cinnamon and sugar mix.  I went with nutmeg.  Pour in the nog and brandy.  Sip and enjoy!

I also love this recipe because I have all sorts of fun vintage cocktail glasses that never get used.  This is a great excuse to start pulling out those fun glasses.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.  Happy running to anyone doing a Turkey Trot!

Powering Up For Marathon Training

Happy Monday friends and happy holiday week for many of you!  Eek, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I’m looking forward to feasting this week.

I have signed up for two spring marathons and I am both excited and a bit terrified.  Coming back from pregnancy has not been the easiest of things to do.  My pace slowed down for nine months and then I went a few weeks without running at all.  Slowly I am getting back to where I want to be.  But the thought of running this pace for 26.2 miles is a bit daunting.

One thing that Rock and I notice when we are marathon training is that we feel tired.  Not just your normal, “I could use a nap,” tired.  We feel exhausted from the inside out.  Training is hard and it truly takes a toll on your body.  I have found adding protein to be a huge aid in getting rid of that slugishness.

When I recently was contacted by Myprotein to try out their products, I jumped at the chance.  I will be the first to say that I am very hesitant to do reviews on my blog.  I personally find that blogs that do a lot of reviews and giveaways quickly lose my attention.  I always get the vibe that they are just in it for the giveaways.  You will notice that I rarely do these types of reviews and when I do, it is for something I am genuinely interested in.


Myprotein invited me to take a look at their website and pick a product that I would like to try.  I immediately asked for the Impact Diet Whey and also asked if they would consider throwing in their nut butter to try.  Imagine my delight when I returned back from NYC to find a big box from Myprotein.  They generously sent me a huge bag of the whey powder, a full sized container of peanut butter, some delicious flavor drops to try, and a few other products.

The trickiest thing about protein powders is finding something that actually has a flavor to it, mixes well, and doesn’t have a boat load of calories in it.  Well let me tell you that I think I found the perfect combo here.  The Impact Diet Whey came in double chocolate flavor.  They recommend adding two full scoops to your water (200 calories) but I found that one scoop was plenty to keep me feeling full and refreshed after a nice long run and still had plenty of flavor.  Plus they sent me white chocolate and mocha flavor drops.  A few drops of that in the drink and I swear it tastes like a milk shake.

Rock and I both tested this out and agree that it is one of the tastier powders we have used.  It does mix well but there is some gummy settling at the bottom.  If I wasn’t lazy and would actually put it through the blender, I think this wouldn’t be a problem.  But I don’t like to deal with cleaning my blender and I no longer have a Magic Bullet.  Sigh.

Next up we tried the peanut butter.  I had just had a conversation with my brother-in-law about the dangers of dogs eating peanut butter due to the addition of xantham gum.  I honestly had no idea.  We use peanut butter as a way to hide pills for Louie.

Xantham gum is put in peanut butter to keep it from settling.  People are turned off when they open a container of peanut butter and find oil at the top and the butter at the bottom.  I think a lot of this comes from the “fat free” craze.  But honestly friends, that settling means you are eating real peanut butter.  We have become a society where an apple that has been preserved with wax is more appealing than an organic one, free of pesticides, that has a brown spot on the side.

I was so excited when I lifted the seal of Myprotein peanut butter and found oil!  I then looked at the ingredients and was super impressed.  One ingredient: peanuts.  I am a huge fan of nut butters for my fueling during marathon training.  They are the perfect combo of fat and protein to keep you going and don’t wreak havoc on your stomach.

 This nut butter was the real deal.  I had it with some slices of apple for a snack and was in nut butter heaven.  This nut butter is chock full of thick pieces of peanut right in there.  You will miss the sweetness of other peanut butters, but that is because this is a true nut butter.  I highly recommend this product.

I have a few other goodies that I have yet to try from Myprotein.  But from what I can tell this is a great company.  Check out their website.  They offer lots of great products and the prices are pretty very competitive.  Plus, they have some deep discounts going on right now.  I have a feeling I will be making an order soon myself.


A Festive Holiday Cocktail: Apple Cider Margaritas

Well it is official, the holiday season is right around the corner.  Can  you believe that a week from today is Thanksgiving?  And holy smokes, we are doing a Turkey Trot!  I’ve been hit with a doozy of a head cold, and feel pretty out of shape.  It scares me a bit to think about running a “race.”

We just spent the past week in Northern Michigan; one of my absolute favorite places.  We walked in the woods, ran on rural roads, and enjoyed some marvelous weather.  But I am excited to get back home and get my winter and Christmas decorations down from storage.  Oh do I love the holidays!

I already have most of my Christmas shopping done (and then some).  I’ve picked up some great gifts and fun decorations.  Rock thinks I have a slight obsession with holiday decorations.  He might be right.  One step into Target last week and Mary and I ran into some fun stuff right in the dollar bin.  I told her we had to hurry home to hide our new stash!

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is hosting family and friends for parties and dinners.  I love cooking and baking fun treats to give as gifts.  What I really wanted to add to the mix was a fun holiday cocktail and I think I hit the jackpot.

I have a bit of a confession.  After long summer training runs, I start to crave margaritas.  Blame it on the salt.  I like to say that my body is looking to replace electrolytes and margaritas seem to do the trick.  I definitely missed my margaritas this past summer while I was pregnant.  Now that summer has come and gone, I wanted to find a fun way to add the margarita back into the mix.

Enter the apple cider margarita.  I did look at a few different recipes, and then went with my own concoction.  I’m sure there are lots of combos out there.  But I wanted to avoid too much sugar (minus the cider).  These are so simple.  I whipped up a few for family last night and they were a hit!

Apple Cider Margaritas:


2 ounces tequila

2 ounces triple sec

10 ounces apple cider

Cinnamon and sugar

Apples sliced


Use an apple around the rim of a glass.  Pour some cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and place the rim of your glass in the bowl to coat.  Add the tequila, triple sec and cider to your glass and stir to combine.  Feel free to add more or less tequila. I also love to add a touch of sparkling water to my skinny margaritas to make them stretch a little farther.


What To Do In The Off-season

Happy Monday!  We are having a lovely week up in Northern Michigan.  The weather is beautiful and a complete change from last year when we were here and surrounded by 12 inches of snow.

I have been getting a lot of questions lately from clients in regards to off-season training.  Marathon season has come and gone for the most part.  And even the athletes who were moaning and groaning the most about how they hated marathon training are starting to question what their next race will be.  The addiction is real, my friends!


So where does this leave you this time of year?  I like to think of training as a “choose your own adventure” and the off-season is very much a part of that adventure.

The first step is to figure out if you had any nagging injuries during your last round of training.  If the answer is yes, you then need to determine if this is still an issue or if you are still injured.  Any injuries that are still hanging around need to be dealt with first.  That means you might want to spend a little bit more time resting and cross training until you feel 100% again.  You might want to consider reaching out to a physical therapist or trainer who can help you heal those injuries in the proper way.

If you did deal with nagging injuries and especially any overuse injuries, this is a great indicator of where your training should be headed this winter.  If for example, you were dealing with hamstring of IT band issues, you would benefit from some strength training exercises to help balance you out a bit more before you begin another round of training.  Focusing on squats and other exercises will help you avoid such issues in the future.

Two years ago, Rock had a rough training season coming into the Chicago Marathon.  But he arrived strong and was ready to take on the race.  He called me from mile 18 and was so frustrated to tell me that he had random hip flexor issue come out of nowhere.  It was incredibly annoying, to say the least.  But he got on a strength training plan all winter and worked his core and lower body like never before.  By spring, he was a much stronger and healthier runner.

Keep in mind that you do not need a gym membership to get the benefits of strength training.  In fact, I prefer to do all of my workouts at home, watching mindless television.  Simple exercises like planks, squats, and plies will change your running for the better.  No equipment is necessary!

And apparently, you can eat breakfast at the same time too!

And apparently, you can eat breakfast at the same time too!

The next step in your off-season training adventure is to determine a healthy amount of mileage for you.  You certainly do not need to continue logging 60-70 miles per week.  Maybe your body feels good on 40 or even 20 weekly miles.  It is totally up to you to find a healthy balance.  It is best to not completely bag running for several months and then try to jump back in again but at the same time your body needs a break from that heavy mileage.

Your running can be maintained over the winter months on nice short runs of just 3 miles, if you choose.  I recommend aiming for three weekly workouts of about 3-5 miles at a time.  Try getting a longer weekend run in of 7-10 miles to keep your legs and endurance going.

But don’t forget about cross training.  If you find yourself feeling a bit out of love with your running, embrace some other workouts and keep that endurance strong.  Hit the elliptical (I used to love doing this with an US Weekly in hand!).  Take a spin class or try swimming.  Yoga is a great form of exercise and my local studio offers a cardio yoga class with weights.  Sometimes enjoying other forms of exercise will bring back that love and adoration you feel is missing from your running.


Keep in mind that off-season training should be about healing and maintenance.  Deal with past injuries, get yourself stronger, and keep moving.  By the time training starts back up in the spring, you will be more than ready to get back in there.

Different Terrain + Different Paces = Improved Running

Gosh, does it ever feel great to be back in the Midwest.  Fall is in the air, and Chicago is flat as a pancake!  There is a reason why people like to run the Chicago Marathon.  Sure the people and the sights are great, but Chicago is one flat land and that makes for easy, speedy running.

When Rock and I arrived in upstate New York a few weeks ago we were met with the most beautiful sights.  The trees were changing and we were staying in a cute little motel right on the Hudson River.  Check out the view from our room.  Not shabby.

That was until I went for a run.  The first time I took a route that had me running over a rolling terrain.  But it went through town and stopping and starting with the traffic was not what I was looking for.  One of my favorite things about being in a new spot is getting out for a run and exploring.  I soon found a route that followed the river for awhile and headed out to an old pier.  From there I wound around residential streets and saw the cutest houses.

loved this route, except for one big problem…..hills!  The entire route was uphill until I decided it was time to turn back home.  And we weren’t talking rolling hills.  These are foothills of the mountains.  One day as we were driving to get something I remarked to Rock that we were in the area where I was doing my runs.  He kind of laughed and mentioned something about mountain running.

So yes, that first half of the run sucked.  And my paces blew!  I would look at my watch and feel pretty awful about my paces.  I felt like I was out of shape or losing my endurance.

However, over the next few days I noticed that my legs were starting to feel achy and also stronger in different places.  And then something awesome happened.  I went for a run in Central Park.  If you have ever done the loop of Central Park, you know that it is rather challenging six mile loop of rolling hills.  It is a great place to go for a workout.

As I started running the park, I had very little expectation.  My pacing had been slow ever since we arrived after the marathon and my schedule had only been allowing for sporadic runs.  But when my Garmin beeped after the first mile and I looked at my watch, I was running 30 seconds faster than my typical pace.  I was running what I would consider a speed workout pace.  The next mile beeped and I was running even faster!  Remarkably, I wasn’t trying to push the pace and I didn’t feel winded either.  And my legs felt incredibly strong.

This was a true testament to the benefits of training on different terrain, notably hills.  While I definitely recommend that anyone who is going to a hilly race make sure they include hills in their training, everyone can benefit from some uphill running.  Changes in elevation, even minor, engage different muscles.  It makes them stronger and uses different muscles that we don’t always call upon during our daily runs.

It will not only make you faster but a stronger and healthier runner.  Hills provide a challenge that can also work as excellent mental training.  Working to push past new barriers will strengthen your mind come race day.  And if anything, you will appreciate your flat runs even more.


We stopped at Bear Mountain and went to the zoo. Rock and I did a trail race here once that was all uphill. It was brutal!

 Don’t have hills near you?  Go ahead and take it to the treadmill.  Research has proved that we no longer need to run on any incline to mimic our typical running.  So use the occasional run as a chance to bump up the incline for a bit or create a hilly fartlek workout on the mill to mix it up a little.

Do you love or hate hill running?

Back in the Midwest

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and congrats to everyone who finished races and especially to those who ran Indy.  I was a bit jealous and wished I was there running with you.  Hopefully you all had the amazing weather we have had for the past week.

Rock, Mary and I finished what seemed like a tour of the eastern half of the U.S. this past week.  We left New York City on Tuesday and drove to Northern Michigan to pick up Louie, the dog, who was staying with my parents while we were away.  We were definitely excited to see him but he might have been a tad disappointed to see us.  He loves being up there and running in the woods and playing with my parent’s dog.


I had a blast playing skating coach for a week again in NYC! I even put on the hockey skates and didn’t break anything!

We arrived to 70 degree temperatures, which is a little bizarre for this time of year.  In fact, last year at this time we were greeted with nearly a foot of snow.  It was so awesome to run on the leaf lined streets in shorts and a tank top.  Whenever I get warm fall temps like this I try to take advantage and soak up every last moment.

Rock and I got to go for a few runs together and we even took the dogs for some great walks in the woods.  Part of me wishes I could do this every day.  Growing up in a small town, I never realized how special it really was.

 We returned back to Chicago on Friday.  What a great feeling to unpack and not be living out of suitcases.  It was a huge relief because in the last week I started losing things and it made me feel like I was beginning to lose my mind.  The biggest bummer was losing my new Yurbuds.  Rock kept reassuring me that we would find them when we unpacked but sadly, I think they are likely laying in a parking lot somewhere in upstate New York.

Saturday morning I met with a new client at 6:00 am and found the prettiest moon when I stepped out of the front door.  We live across the street from a church and the combination of the church and the moon in the background was pretty spectacular.

Cooler temps and falling leaves are definitely here and this morning there was a slight frost on the ground.  I’m not quite ready for snow storms yet but I am certainly embracing the cooler running weather and my pumpkin spice coffee.  Oh, and I just registered for another marathon for next spring.  So I have some training to look forward to as well!

I’ll be back later this week with a few thoughts on my running in the hills and “mountains” of upstate New York and some tips on hill training.

I hope you had a great weekend and congrats to all of the race finishers!

Learning From The Back

Last Sunday was the NYC Marathon. We happened to be in New York for work and I was thrilled to cheer on some friends as well as athletes I had been training. 
I started the day off bright and early at the rink and then threw on a pair of shoes and raced home to where we were staying in Brooklyn. I had carefully plotted out a way to avoid the race through Manhattan but hadn’t thought about where the runners would be in Brooklyn. Imagine my surprise as I came off the Williamsburg Bridge and ran smack into mile 11. The road was packed and I got permission from a race official to slowly weave over to the other side. 

As I dashed home to grab Mary and change out of my sweaty clothes, I was tracking one of my runners who I had planned to meet out on the course. Imagine my surprise when I got out there and saw that she was running way faster than I had expected and I missed her. I was bummed and headed back home. But later, I decided to go back to the bridge and hang out where I had crossed over earlier. Rock would be headed home soon and I thought it would be fun for Mary and I to cheer on athletes and meet dad on his return. 

By the time I got back to the bridge I was shocked to see that the crowds were gone and so were most of the runners (As a new mom, I tend to lose track of time). Officials were starting to take down the tape that blocked the crowds. However, small packs of runners and walkers were still coming through. Some were smiling, some were struggling, but they were still pushing forward. 

Cars started slowly returning to the streets but as we waited, more and more athletes continued to pass by us.

I chose my words carefully as I cheered them on. I gave thumbs up and high fives and some people rubbed Mary’s feet as they passed us. I avoided telling them annoying things like, “You’re almost there!” because as mile 11, you really aren’t. Hearing that is frustrating and discouraging. Instead we cheered and smiled. 

I told one man he was awesome and he looked at me with a defeated sigh and said, “I still have a long way to go.” It was true but I reminded him that he had come so far and to just keep going one mile at a time. Looking back I wish I had given him a hug and hopped in and walked with him for a mile. 

I saw a girl pushing a walker. She had a smile on her face and later I saw a video on Facebook that the marathon posted. It was that girl, one of the last finishers, crossing the line almost 12 hours after she started. It was so awesome to see her receive her medal. 

I am by no means a speedster. But I have been blessed to be able to run and have some mild success. I’ve been near the front of the pack in a few races. I’ve been fortunate to place in a race or two or to even place in my age group on occasion. And those were great moments for me. 

But my experience on Sunday taught me more than any other race I have run. It inspired me in ways that my own personal races or medals earned could never have ever given me. 

Running is hard. And we all experience pain and struggles during a race. Whether you are the first to cross the finish or the last, you feel the burn in your legs and your lungs. We all question if we will actually make it to the end or if we can achieve our goals. 

To be the runner near the back, to watch the crowds dissipate and go home and see the race itself pack up for another year, must be incredibly difficult. If you have ever run a race, you know how much the cheers and signs help carry you along, especially during moments where you have struggled. 

It takes a strong person both mentally and physically to keep pushing as this is all going on. To know that you still have 15 miles to go and that you will be alone out there for most of the race and to maintain a smile and not give up, is nothing short of incredible. I know runners who have been near the front of the race and when they realized they weren’t going meet their goal, they gave up. Why? Because it is mentally draining. It is overwhelming. 

I had tears in my eyes then and I have tears in my eyes now as I type this. Watching this determination and dedication was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen. Getting the chance to cheer on these brave souls was one of the greatest highlights I have had at a race. 

Rock saw Meb in Central Park yesterday. That was pretty cool. But I wouldn’t trade what I saw for the chance to meet any elite runner. I saw the true elites on Sunday. They showed me every reason why it takes guts to be a runner.   

 Congrats to everyone who finished, started, and kept putting one foot in front of the other. 

Back From a Hiatus

Hello and happy Monday friends!  My apologies for the radio silence.  Sometimes life gets in the way and it certainly has in the past few weeks.  If you have been around here lately you know that Rock and I coached through the Chicago Marathon and then quickly took off for NYC.

We stayed for 2 weeks, about an hour outside of the the city in a cute little motel on the Hudson River.  It was the perfect place to be as the fall foliage was in its glory.  Mary and I had lots of fun travels while Rock was at work.  We went antiquing and shopped in some cute little towns like Cold Spring, NY.  If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend.  It is only about an hour outside of Manhattan and Metro North drops you off right in town.  There are lots of great little shops and eateries on what looks like “Main Street USA.”  It is located right on the Hudson River and you can rent bikes to head out to many beautiful hiking trails.


This is the view when you get off of the train. I mean, seriously!


Next up, we headed to Brooklyn.  We stayed there for a week while Rock and I worked at the rink in Central Park.  While we are both RRCA certified running coaches, we have both been skating and hockey coaches for almost 20 years.  Gosh we are old!

We met at this rink and it holds a special place in our hearts.  Wollman Rink has the largest skating program in the country and we are fortunate enough to come back each year to help get everything started when the weather changes to skating season.

We had a great time playing on the ice and helping children get started for the winter season.   There is honestly nothing better than watching a little child step on the ice for the first time and figure it out.

Upstate1 Upstate2

And we also had some really awesome runs.  One thing I really miss since Mary was born is that we don’t get the chance to run together any more.  But on Friday we had a sitter watching our little girl and we were able to run the 7 miles from Central Park back to Brooklyn together.  I highly recommend a run across the Williamsburg Bridge if you ever get to visit New York.

Sunday was a combination of playing skating coach and running coach as we had athletes participating in the New York City Marathon too.  Lucky for us, the last mile of the marathon goes right past the rink.  It is so fun to watch the helicopters start to hover above us as the leaders come running into the park and start to hear the shouts and cheers from the spectators.  New York comes alive in a way that I have never seen before when the marathon comes to town.


I hope to add some posts with a few coaching tips later this week.  Life definitely is more hectic these days with a little one who doesn’t really like to be put down during the day.  I am trying to find balance between savoring our snuggly moments, working with my clients and still getting blog posts in.  I can’t guarantee that I will be blogging with my usual consistency, but I am certainly going to try!

Congrats to everyone who ran this weekend and a special congrats to the New York City Marathoners!


Happy belated Halloween from our “little pumpkin.”

Out With The Negative, In With The Positive

Today is my final post in a series about changing our mindsets and ditching attitudes that are keeping us from personal growth.  All of these are issues I have dealt with.  Today is one of my favorites and the best thing that I have discovered from running.

As a child and young adult I was a competitive figure skater.  I competed at the top level attainable in US Figure Skating and even competed at the Collegiate National level.  I was fortunate enough to travel the United States and Canada and go to training centers and work with the best coaches in the world.  Each place I went to, I was always met with a very warm response.  Coaches saw great potential and many tried to convince my parents to allow me to move there.  But for some reason, I never quite believed what they were telling me.


I would land triple jumps and do some incredible spins.  I would nail perfect performances in practice and even during warm up at competitions.  I had a wonderful coach who sang my praises.  One time a national tour even came to our rink and he pulled over some Olympic medalists and had them watch me.  He was so proud of me, and I gave that poor guy a serious run for his money.  I was constantly down on myself.  I was always denying anything positive he had to say about me and I would argue that he was always wrong.  I would walk into a competition and immediately go to the roster and determine how many people were better than me; never giving myself a chance.

And in return, my performances suffered.  I was never able to lay out on the ice during a competition exactly what I would do in practice.  In my heart, I knew it was my bad attitude.

I worked with sports psychologists.  I read the great book, “The Power of Positive Thinking.”  I had all of the resources and I simply refused to change my mindset.  Looking back, I think a lot of this comes with being a young and insecure girl.  It is hard sometimes for a young girl to believe they are truly great or capable of great things.  And the reality is, I missed out on a lot of potential success with my negative attitude.

When I began running I had a strange change of attitude.  You see, when you start running long mileage and push yourself to new limits, you will never be able to move forward with a negative attitude.  Try doing a 20 miler with a, “I think I can’t.  I think I can’t,” attitude.  You will never make it, and if you do you will most definitely be one miserable heap by the end.


Can we talk about that hair? I’m POSITIVE that is awful!

At some point I started having conversations in my head.  Occasionally I would even hear myself say something out loud, “Good job.  You’ve got this.” Or you might hear me say something like, “Come on, you can do this.”

One thing I have always had is a very positive attitude as a coach. I was always the skating coach, even at a young age, who tried to find the comedic side to a fall or a mishap.  I wanted my skaters to laugh and have fun and find a way to believe in themselves.

As my running progressed, I suddenly found myself being the coach of myself.  And the only way I could get me the student to reach new levels was to speak kindly to myself and encourage me to finish.

Do you know what happened?  I started to really like myself.  I found a new me, a confident me.  I finished a run and felt proud of my accomplishment, but also like I had made a new friend.  And I liked that friend!  It was so nice to find a change of attitude.  If only I had made that change earlier in life, I would have saved myself a lot of time feeling insecure and down on myself.


The night before the Chicago Marathon this year, I was in a room full of 150+ athletes getting ready to run the next day.  I offered what I told them was my best advice:

“If I can give you my best running advice, it is to be your best friend and your own best running coach tomorrow.  Say the nicest things to yourself and encourage yourself along.  Find a positive mantra and repeat it over and over.  Don’t let negativity seep into your mind if you begin to struggle.  A positive attitude will do more for you out there on the course than any gel or Gu possibly could.”

I firmly stand by that.  As you struggle through a run, if you allow yourself to question your ability or to become negative, everything will become more difficult.  But a positive attitude and some encouragement from your own best friend will help carry you across that finish line.  It will bring on the endorphins and make things better.

Life is too short to try to find fault or negativity in yourself.  You owe it to yourself to be the best you possible and to find all of the wonderful things you are capable of.  Seize the positive!

What is your favorite mantra?

Good luck to everyone running this weekend and a few special people who are running Marine Corps: Alison our fearless leader of Team Momentum, Gloria of Harry’s Mama, and Dr. Hoprasart who helped bring Mary into the world and chatted about marathoning along the way.

Ditching The All or Nothing Attitude

Keeping with my series this week on unhealthy mindsets, I wanted to touch upon something I realized about myself a few years ago.  For a long time I would work out a lot and search for what diets runners followed.  You know what I found?  Nothing.  There was no magical diet a runner was eating that kept them fast and lean.  In fact, there isn’t a magical diet for anything really.

When I work with athletes and clients who are trying to get healthy and fit, I always tell them that I don’t do diets.  The notion of a diet is that you are eating a certain way to lose weight.  But then what happens when you lose the weight and go back to your old ways?  It is a vicious cycle and something that I think the food and diet industry has preys upon.  If you “diet” you will never find a path to health that is long term and lasting.  A healthy lifestyle full of balance, on the other hand, will keep you fit and healthy for the long run.


Several years ago I had a bout of plantar fasciitis that I let get pretty bad before I sought out help.  I was in denial.  I didn’t want to stop running.  And when I received the diagnosis I was told I had to stop running for a least 2-4 weeks.  Let me tell you, I freaked out!  How could I not run?!  I panicked about gaining weight and then guess what happened?  I started to slowly gain weight, even though I was going to the gym every day and riding a bike for an hour at a time.

I couldn’t figure it out.  Something wasn’t adding up.  I was working out a lot, but not running.  Certainly running wasn’t the magical potion that kept me fit, right?

Then one day I was at the gym getting a workout in.  I was excited because we were leaving the following day to fly out and cheer on someone at a marathon.  As I planned out packing and getting to the airport I began thinking that since I wasn’t running I shouldn’t go there hungry and order a breakfast sandwich.  That lead to thinking, “What if I want a donut?” and then, “But what if I’m hungry and I want something else?”

photo 5

Haha, I love this pic of Rock doing planks and eating donuts on vacation!

It was then that I had an epiphany.  All along, as I was eating healthy I was still having these freak out moments about what I could not eat.  I started obsessing about what I couldn’t eat and then I would put all of my focus into that.  Soon I was packing lunches and throwing in extras because I was so worried about being hungry and because I thought I couldn’t have certain things.  This put my focus on having all of the things.

Now if that sounds like a Cartesian Circle to you, it should.  It really makes no sense.  In the process of trying to eat less, or eat healthy, or not gain weight, I became obsessed with what I wasn’t supposed to have (and no one, including myself ever said anything was off limits in the first place).

A healthy life is not about what you can’t have.  Sure, if you have dietary restrictions or health issues that keep you from eating certain things, then yes you shouldn’t eat those things.  But a healthy person doesn’t obsess about what they can or cannot have.  And in fact, as soon as I stopped thinking things were off limits or that there were magical foods that would keep me fit, everything became much easier.

The truth is, if you exercise and eat a well rounded diet, you can honestly have just about anything.  But you can’t have everything and you can’t have it all at once.  If you make something like cookies, fries, or pizza off limits, you will start to dearly miss those things and eventually break down and eat them.  And when things are considered off limits and we eat them, we feel like a failure.  What an awful thing to feel over food!


No guilt here!

So what is one to do?  I changed my mindset and decided that while it is important to focus on eating a well rounded and healthy diet, some splurge foods mixed in there is the perfect combo for me.  Typically I prefer to eat a salad or other veggie centric meals.  I am by no means a vegetarian and I love meat like a true Midwesterner.  But I follow my doctor’s advice that the meat should be the side of a meal and the veggies are the focus.

I pay attention to how much I eat and try not to stuff myself to the point of feeling sick.  It isn’t easy, because I love food. But when I leave the table satisfied but not stuffed, I feel better about myself.  And that leaves room for an occasional dessert.

And when I do eat my splurge foods, I make sure to pay attention to how delicious it really is.  I love french fries.  They are one of my favorite treats  But I have discovered over the years that some places make awesome fries and others, not so much.  If I have a plate full of awesome, crispy fries, I go to town and enjoy.  But if they arrive and they are soggy or just not like I had hoped, I might have a few and put them aside.  Know when a treat is worth it and enjoy.  And if it falls short, don’t eat it for the sake of eating.

As I said earlier this week, life is about balance.  You really can have your cake and eat it too.  You just have to plan it out and make room for healthy choices and exercise too.  The idea is to remember that there is no magical key, no secret diet that will make it all perfect.  You really do have to work to be healthy.




Yikes!  There are a lot of pics of me eating dessert.  That last pic is from the day we announced we were pregnant and we tried all the paczkis!