Modern Ayurveda (Book Review)

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Ayurveda is complicated, there’s no doubt about it. You need a guide. You also need a guide on how to navigate Ayurveda in the modern world, since it was developed in Ancient India, and most of us don’t even live in modern India.

Ali Cramer does a wonderful job demystifying Ayurveda so that it’s livable in our modern times.

Why should a runner even care about Ayurveda? Have you ever had digestive issues that effected your running? Following Ayurvedic principles can help you sort that out.

Fairytales and Fitness

Disclaimer: I received a pre-publication edition of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

Ayurveda is about more than just how to eat

What’s in the book?
The first third of Modern Ayurveda (Amazon Affiliate link) explains the major principles of Ayurvedic eating, determining your dosha (remember my post on the doshas? Read it hereif you missed it), what sorts of foods are appropriate for which doshas, and the 6 tastes — and which of those tastes are most balancing for your dosha.

I’ve just thrown out a bit of Sanskrit and some terms you’re probably not familiar with — that’s okay, because Ali does a great job of explaining it all in easy to understand language.

Here’s a list of the chapters in the book:

  • Essential Ayurveda
  • Ayurveda and You
  • Modern Ayurveda Lifestyle
  • Recipes for Healing and Detox
  • The Healing Recipes
  • Remedies & Practices for Specific Ailments
  • Kickstart Plans
  • Ayurveda Every Day
  • Resources

Modern Ayurveda is about a lot more than just eating right, though. It’s about how to move (including yoga flows tailored to your Dosha), even when is the optimal time to move, destressing rituals, and more.

What drew me to this book
I’ve dabbled in Ayurveda, even before I learned more about it in my YTT. Learning more, as usual, is the key to igniting interest and yet leaves you with more questions. Here’s a snippet of the book description on Net Galley:

Ayurveda is an ancient South Asian system of holistic health and wisdom that’s been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years. It teaches us to live in harmony with the world around us by balancing our naturally-occurring physical and mental tendencies with the limitations of our lives. Modern Ayurveda introduces you to the basics of the Ayurvedic way of eating and lifestyle choices, with everything from recipes and morning meditations to daily routines, personalized yoga practices, and more.

Ali Cramer, the author of Modern Ayurveda, is the director of the Ayurveda program at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City.

According to Ali, Ayurveda is:

A complete system of based on the elements of nature and  living life in accordance with the natural rhythms of our world.

Kichadi: Indian comfort food

So how does it taste?
There is a clickable index of recipes at the beginning of the recipe section, broken out by Dosha.

Recipes are clearly marked by Dosha icons

Some recipes are tridoshic (appropriate for all doshas), some are good for a couple of doshas, and the vast majority are aimed at your particular dosha. There are also suggestions for how to eat by season.

Recipes in the book, also clearly marked by Dosha

There are recipes for:

  • Kichadi (a rice and bean dish)
  • Breakfasts
  • Spice Mixes
  • Soups
  • “Burgers” (veggie burgers)
  • Sauces
  • Snacks
  • Tonics
These are what the Kapha Burgers look like — and they taste great!

All the recipes I tried from the book were simple, tasty, and didn’t require a long list of strange ingredients, although they most likely will require spices you may not have in your spice cabinet.

Who is this book for?
You don’t have to be into yoga to explore Ayurveda (although the two really do go together). If you’re interested in how to tailor your eating to your body type, not somebody else’s, Modern Ayurveda can help you get started. If you eat healthy and clean, but still struggle with digestive issues, this book is for you. If you just want some healthy tasty recipes, this book is also for you!

Does having a diet tailored to your individual needs — one that changes and adapts with you, the seasons, your age — sound good to you? Then learning a little more about Ayurveda could be helpful to you.

Baby stepping into doing the right things for your Dosha

The Kickstarts
There is a seven day kickstart program all laid out for you by your dosha. It’s not what you think, though — it’s not really about your food (although there are suggestions for a meal plan for each dosha and food lists with best foods for your dosha).

No, it’s about how you live your day. There are simple suggestions for what you should add to your day — and when. It starts out with small changes, and each day builds on the previous day with additional small changes.

I didn’t try the kickstart, but most of the small changes that are suggested are not time-consuming. Change is hard, though, and even the simplest changes require a willingness to change. We can’t feel better if we aren’t willing to change.

Chickpea pancakes. Super quick & simple — they’ve become a staple!

Final Thoughts
I love how simple Ali Cramer makes Ayurveda seem. A lot of information is packed into this book, in addition to the recipes. It’s about so much more than food, though. Because Ayurveda is about so much more than food — it’s really a lifestyle. Perhaps the original holistic lifestyle.

Ali gives you lots of suggestions, but realizes that baby steps are the way to go and most of all tells you to do the best you can.

The book itself is very visually appealing. All of the recipes are clearly marked by dosha. If I’ve piqued your interest in Ayurveda, then I highly recommend checking out Modern Ayurveda!

Have I managed to at least make you curious about Ayurveda?

Do you enjoy Indian food?

Are you curious about your Dosha? (I link to Dosha quizzes here)

Eat Live Thrive Diet (Book Review)

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I know that when I first started to run, I overate for the amount of calories I was actually burning — not intentionally, but it’s easy to do. Eventually I figured out how to train and not gain weight (for the most part).

I’ve noticed, though, that I can no longer eat as much running the same amount of miles. 10 years has put me firmly into menopause, and as our bodies change, so do our needs and our ability to burn off what we eat.

So what’s a curvy runner to do? When I read the description of Eat Live Thrive Diet (Amazon Affiliate link), or ELTD as I’ll refer to it, I was intrigued that it targets older women  — and is actually written by two women who are on the other side of 50 . . . and beyond. I mean seriously, look at the authors — I’ll have what they’re having!

Disclaimer: I received a pre-publication edition of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

What’s in the book?
ELTD spends a lot of time on what and how to eat, obviously. It always touches on exercise and sleep. The one thing I didn’t realize when I requested this book to review: it also talks some about God.

The whole book is not about God, and it’s not preachy, but I wasn’t expecting it and as a person of faith who happens to be Jewish, I’ll admit I found it somewhat annoying. It may not interest you, either, but it’s a small part of the book and don’t let that prevent you from reading it. And I also appreciate for some people weight can be a spiritual issue.

Here’s a list of the chapters in the book:

  • Yes, you can eat, live, and thrive!
  • Making the program work for you
  • You are what you think
  • The power of self talk
  • Fat-burning diet trends
  • The eating window
  • The elimination phase
  • The discovery phase
  • The lifestyle phase
  • What’s exercise got to do with it?
  • The irreplaceable power of sleep
  • Beauty and the beast
  • Recipes

The “diet” is split into three phases:

  1. Elimination: removing problem foods completely for 2 weeks
  2. Discovery: slowly reintroducing the foods, one at a time, noting how they make you feel — once you’ve tried out one food, you remove it again as you go on to the next (I am still going through this phase)
  3. Lifestyle: fine tuning how to eat the rest of your life for your body

This isn’t a diet, despite the title, but more a deep dive into problematic foods that may be sabotaging your weight loss journey, and how to fine tune your diet (way of eating, not restriction!) to your body.

I liked the fact that ELTD isn’t a fad diet. The authors briefly touch on Keto, for instance, and why they don’t suggest it — which jives with my own personal opinion: it’s too hard to sustain and it’s not balanced.

They do encourage Intermittent Fasting, although a kinder, gentler version. They suggest that you work your way up to fasting 16 hours, starting with 12 hours (or less, if you’re not used to going a long time without eating) and slowly extending it over time — and only fast for 16 hours at most a couple of times a week.

I’ve dabbled in IF, but I didn’t find it did much for me. This time I found that IF coupled with the foods I eliminated plus a few tweaks to my nutrition in general worked well for me. I started running again, and unlike the last time, I didn’t notice an increase in appetite on the days I ran.

Did the weight melt off? No — but it’s not supposed to. Any loss over 1-2 lbs per week is most likely muscle loss, not fat loss — we’re prone to muscle loss as we age, so we certainly don’t want to do anything that will cause more of it! Slow and steady wins the race.

What drew me to this book
Let’s face it, there’s a ton of books out there about how to eat (most of them contradicting each other). Here’s a snippet of the book description on Net Galley:

A practical, science-based diet book that unravels the mystery of why women gain weight as they age and includes a sustainable plan to permanently lose the pounds and inches.

Almost all women who are fast approaching menopause — or on the other side — know that keeping our weight in check gets harder and harder with every decade. I’m on the other side, weight is often a struggle for me — so yes, a book aimed at “mature” women appealed to me.

Positivity
If you follow me for any length of time, you’ll find that I’m really big on positive affirmations, mantras, and meditation. I wasn’t always, but I have learned that our self talk is often the most important part of the process any time you want to change a behavior. The authors agree. 

In fact, they suggest “potty talk” — using a trigger to get you into the habit of doing positive affirmations. One trigger is when you’re in the bathroom. Much better use of your time than being on your phone, right? And your phone will stay dry (and germ free). There are several audio recordings from the author, as bonuses, that you can play during the different phases.

The book also has a lot of positive affirmations for you to use. Some of both the audios and the affirmations do invoked God or Jesus, but there are many that don’t. You are sure to find some to work for you — which is the point of the whole book, finding out what works for you!

Elimination Phase
The Elimination Phase removes foods that are problematic for many women for 2 weeks. There are three different levels:

  1. Level 1: Grains & sugar (the most common culprits in weight gain)
  2. Level 2: Also eliminate beans, nuts, and dairy
  3. Level 3: Let’s just say there’s a whole lot of food to eliminate

It’s suggested that you do some form of the elimination diet every change of seasons, and try the highest level at least once a year. I liked the fact that the first level wasn’t very strict. I had every intention of trying to cut out dairy, but then I found myself struggling to get in enough protein and really needed my Greek Yogurt!. I did cut out beans, even though they’re not on level 1. The authors say it’s fine to sort of mix and match between levels.

After just implementing a few changes even before I began and then following Level 1 + beans for 2 weeks, I lost a little weight, while reducing cravings at the same time. Did I feel my energy skyrocket? Um, no, sorry, no. I definitely noticed a flatter stomach and some inches lost.

Discovery Phase
After eliminating the foods you decide on, you begin to test your sensitivity to them. There’s actually a suggested order to test food. Each grain will be tested separately (in my case, rice, oats, quinoa, then wheat).

To test a food you will eat a serving of that food twice a day for three days, while monitoring how you feel and your weight. On the fourth day you will eat as you did in the elimination phase; the reasoning is that it can take a couple of days for a reaction to show up. Common reactions for each food group are listed, and it’s noted that a reaction just indicates you might have a sensitivity to that food.

Then you’ll move on to testing the next food on the list, but you won’t add back in the food you just tested previously until you have gone through all the foods you want to test. Basically, that allows you to test each food without muddying the waters by eating the other eliminated foods.

The Discovery Phase allows you to find out if you react to certain foods — and how much. You may find that there are foods you really just need to eliminate from your diet altogether, while there may be other foods that are fine for you occasionally.

My Thoughts on the Discovery Phase
I discussed this book with Mr. Judy, and he liked the fact that the authors take a quasi-scientific look at food. He pointed out that the testing phase is probably not long enough; I agreed with him. I also know that weight fluctuates naturally on its own, so if you do have a gain you can’t always attribute it to a certain food.

I gained weight one day when I was on that day in between testing foods. My guess is it was much more about the fact that I’d run 5 miles the day before, which can also cause a temporary bump on the scale.

Normally I do not weigh myself every day, and for some people, this can be triggering. For years I didn’t even own a scale. Mr. Judy bought this scale; I had never used it until reading this book (and don’t plan to be using it once I’m done testing).

I found the “data” from reintroducing foods coupled with monitoring how I felt and my weight fascinating. I know some people have no desire to spend that much time and thought on food, but it’s interesting to me. I calculate the discovery phase will take me about 2 weeks, so that’s a month before getting into the Lifestyle phase, the phase that is about tweaking your food so that you can lose and then maintain your weight.

So far I haven’t really found anything that truly seems to be a problem for me. After  eating beans and the one day off, I did find I gained a pound. I believe that that simply means that I don’t need to eat beans twice a day every day, which is not something I did anyway — not a true sensitivity. I didn’t really expect to find sensitivities. I think some people, if they’re willing to do the work, might be surprised by the results.

Eat Live Thrive Academy
If you’re wondering what happens after you finish all the testing, or you feel that you need support, you might want to check out the Eat Live Thrive Academy here. It’s a monthly paid site with a private Facebook group for more support.

The authors, Danna and Robyn, are active on the site, answering questions, commenting, posting FB Live Videos. They also hold live coaching calls within the site. I haven’t had time to attend one live, but I’ve watched some of the videos and there’s definitely interesting information.

You can download a digital version of the book if you join. Membership happens to be discounted this month. I joined using my own money. I haven’t yet made up my mind whether or not I want to stay a member, but you can cancel at any time. It seems a very nice, supportive group. Right now the other resources at the site, aside from the coaching calls, are rather sparse (recipes — the same ones in the book, a few exercise videos, and worksheets and guidelines for moving through the different phases), but my guess is that there will be more with time — or maybe not.

The price is very reasonable and it’s discounted during the month of April (I have no affiliation with them).

Who is this book for?
Older women who find that they are struggling to maintain (or lose) weight. Whether that’s because they’re not eating a healthy diet, or eating a healthy diet but have not pinpointed healthy foods that are sabotaging their efforts. Also for people (not just women) who think they may have food sensitivities.

Final Thoughts
I will not lie: the discovery phase is time consuming. I wasn’t testing a lot of foods, but since you test every single grain separately, each one for three days — yes, it adds up. And you need to keep track of how you’re feeling and your weight every day (which could be a trigger for someone with an eating disorder).

I didn’t find the elimination phase at all difficult, except for going out — but I did go out to eat once a week, as we usually do.

I enjoyed the recipes from the book, but if you’re a vegetarian — you’re SOL. Pretty much completely; I’d love to see a vegetarian option! I personally would also like to see some sample meal plans. Each recipe has a suggested category (breakfast, entrees, desserts, etc.) and also is tagged by which level it is appropriate for. I’d love to see just a few sample meal plans to see how the authors suggest you put it all together.

This is not a weight loss plan, although the aim is to eventually get to a weight you’re comfortable at — and can sustain. It’s about tailoring your diet to work for your body. I am always searching for ways to do that! It’s about finding the right foods for your body. Yes, you may have to change the way you eat, but if you’re not getting the results you want, it’s worth it.

It’s not a fad diet, it doesn’t eliminate any food group (unless you truly find you have a sensitivity to it), and it connects mind, body and spirit.

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

Are you a Sugar Burner?

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Or a Fat Burner? Does it even matter?

That’s the $64 million question, isn’t it?

Fairytales and Fitness

Sugar burners rely on sugar for that quick energy burst: think refined carbs, gels, beans, chews. Sugar burners tend to have a quick burst of energy and then a crash (hello, mile 10 slump in a half!).

Fat burners are also called fat adapted, as they believe that they are burning fat for fuel, basically by eating much less carbs: think Paleo, Atkins, Keto. Fat burners claim it helps them to sustain their energy and bring mental clarity.

I am not a coach, a nutritionist — you know the drill. These are just my own thoughts.

Am I a fat burner?
Oh heck no. Consuming 20 gms of carbs a day — seriously, how do you even do that? Fat burners typically report higher energy (I wish!), less cravings, and the ability to go a long time between meals — some days I do go a long time between meals; and some days I’m just inexplicably hungry. And hangry.

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In fairness, that’s my post race treat, not pre race (or during!)

Am I a sugar burner?
I usually do rely on sugar for fuel. While I may make some of my own, in general I’m consuming chews and simple carbs for fuel when it comes to running.

Who am I?
I think I fall somewhere in between being a sugar burner and a fat burner. I’m careful about sugar, but it has a way of creeping into my life, which causes me to crave more of the sweet stuff, which in turn causes the scale to slowly and steadily creep up.

I am not afraid of fat — healthy fats like almond butter, avocado, butter (yes! in moderation), coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, whole eggs. We need some fat in our lives, for certain vitamins, to keep us feeling satisfied — but again, the question remains: how much is too much? And the answer is it’s going to vary from person to person.

Most of my carbs aren’t refined (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats), but the truth is that an excess of anything in our bodies is going to turn to fat.

How to put the damper on a sugar burner
Here’s the interesting thing: I am still working my way through the Eat Live Thrive Diet book (Amazon Affiliate link, hoping to have a review out soon — maybe next week). It is not keto, but it does suggest that most of us that struggle with our weight are probably eating too many carbs — even if they’re unrefined carbs.

I’m always open to exploring, so while going through the elimination phase, I was still running (a little — including that 5 mile race you can read about here) — without eating any grains. I was still getting in plenty of carbs, though — but I was eating less carbs than normal. In addition to no grains, I was also easing up a bit on the fruit (which also helped me to eat less carbs).

Where did my carbs come from? Fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables like butternut squash and carrots, sweet potatoes (occasionally), greek yogurt, protein powders, and a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup. You’d be surprised how many carbs you can get in your diet without ever consuming a grain. I have to admit I was!

So what did I eat for breakfast on race day? I made pancakes with half a banana, a scoop of protein powder, and some egg whites. Which seemed to work just fine. I had meant to bring a snack with me because I knew I’d be going 3 hours between breakfast and the race, but I forgot it. It might have helped with the whole energy thing towards the end of the race but maybe not. Again, we’ll never know.

I did find it interesting that when I embraced this change and eliminated some foods (temporarily); that are problematic for many women, my cravings for sugar did, indeed, go way down and my overall feeling of being full went way up. I could eat less calories — even when running — and still feel satisfied.

Unlike my initial return to running after my last half, I did not have a spike in hunger on the days I ran (read my thoughts about runger here). I almost never dealt with rungries at all.

What is the perfect diet?
It’s highly individual, is what it is. What works for you in your 20s will almost definitely not work for you in your 50s, unless you have really good genes. What works for me may not work for you. I personally believe that carbs are not the devil, that we do literally run on carbs, and cutting out an entire food group is never a wise decision (unless it’s based on real health issues).

Have you ever heard of sugar burners vs fat burners?

Which do you think you are?

Have you found your perfect way of eating?

I don’t think that we need to become fat adapted, but I do believe that most of us would benefit from less carbs in our diets. What carbs we do consume should be *mostly* unprocessed (there’s always room for a few fun foods!). We don’t need to fear fat, either. Sugar . . . that’s a different story. — Chocolaterunsjudy

5 Ways to Rethink Fuel

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I am the person who gained weight training for my first half marathon, which is ironic, considering that part of why I started to run was that I though it would be helpful with those last few pounds — only to have it pile on even more pounds — in the beginning.

Of course I had to relearn my lesson training for my first race longer than a half, too. I’m not 100% sure why I gained a few pounds — I mean, I was running the most weekly mileage of my life! Surely I could maintain my weight. Right? Right?

I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy and sharing five ways to look a little differently on how you fuel your runs.

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You don’t always need it
You’ve looked at the gels, right? Most of them say right on them “take one 15 minutes before exercise and every 45 minutes during”.

I’m one of those weirdos that actually like GUs. The taste, anyway, I don’t use GUs in my races (or on long runs) anymore. But I sure took that to heart.

Guess what? For runs under an hour you don’t need a GU. Not before, during, or after. I learned that the hard way. Some people eat nothing unless it’s double digits. I’ve done runs as long as 8 miles with no fuel during.

Like most things with running, you have to play around with it and find what works for you.

I like Honeystinger Chews partially because I can take one every mile

It doesn’t have to be gels 
I don’t use gels. Or sport beans. Or blocks.

I have played around with various real food options, but what I’ve found to work for me is Honeystinger Chews (I’m a Honeystinger Ambassador) + home made (very plain) chocolate chip cookies from the Feedzone Portables book (Amazon Affiliate link).

Other options:

  • Fig Newtons
  • Pretzels
  • According to my coach, Rachel @ Runningonhappy, Payday candy (I need to get some!)
  • Applesauce
  • Raisins

Not every run deserves a treat
I think this may have been what got me training for the 1812 Challenge. Of course I didn’t treat myself after every run, but I was running a lot more and I thought I could get away with more sugar than normal.

Some people can. Genetically gifted people. Younger people. If you find the scale going in the wrong direction or your clothes getting tighter, take a look at how often you’re treating yourself.

A fasted run can be a good run
I will admit it right here, right now: not a super fan of the fasted run (where you run early and don’t eat anything before the run). I always feel as though I run out of gas. And the supposed fat burning benefit? The juries still out on that one.

This summer forced me to get out there earlier than normal, and there were a few fasted runs here and there. I survived. Some people, especially people with stomach issues, really benefit from the fasted run.

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And who doesn’t want a cookie while running?

Think IV, not shot
Years ago I attended a talk by a sports nutritionist. She suggested that taking a gel every 45 minutes was much more likely to lead to stomach upset and also uneven energy on the run.

She said that it was better to take in a little bit more frequently, like an IV drip. I changed how I fueled on long runs and haven’t looked back. It’s part of why I ditched the gels altogether.

I take one Honeystinger Chew or a few bites of my cookie every mile.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Are you true to GU?

Do you actually like fasted runs?

Favorite real food running fuel?

What is the right diet for YOU?

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5 Ways to recognize the right diet

I can be a rebel sometimes.  The suggested subject for the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy today is your gym/workout space. I could probably write a good post on that, and maybe even earn myself a little bit of affiliate money.

Instead, I’m going to write about diet and healthy lifestyles. Because trust me, it’s important to your running. Any engine can fail when it has crappy fuel put into it.

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Sustainable
A diet is something you do for a while, lose a few pounds, and then go right back to the way you were eating before — and usually you find those lost pounds plus some.

I really shouldn’t have used the word diet in my title. What you’re really looking for is a healthy lifestyle — I know people love to hate on that expression, but it’s true. And a healthy lifestyle is something you can envision yourself doing for the rest of your life.

There are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss.

Flexible
Do you find yourself not wanting to go out to eat or to parties because it just won’t fit in with your diet? Is your way of eating something you do at home, then ditch when you’re at someone else’s house or on vacation because it’s just too difficult?

I get it, actually; I still struggle with some of these things myself. My way of eating isn’t restrictive — I eat everything — but, for instance, I really didn’t want to go out to eat when I was at my parents. I do eat out, but I don’t like going out to eat all the time. My waistline doesn’t like it either. Luckily I was able to beg out because of the snow.

Back to my point, though, if you find you are missing out on the things you love because of the way you eat, then it’s time to rethink the way you eat.

No Deprivation
Repeat after me: deprivation will just lead to overeating or even worse, bingeing.

Deprivation does not work. It’s the elephant in the room — the minute you forbid something it’s the only thing you can think about.

If your diet forbids whole food groups, then it fails both point#1 and point#2 (unless you have a medical reason you can’t eat a certain food group) and point#3. I’d say that gets an F, for sure.

That doesn’t mean that eating whatever you want, however much you want, whenever you want it works either. There’s a happy medium between eating healthy most of the time and indulging occasionally.

Makes you feel energized
Sugar may make you feel energized — in the short term. But it won’t give  you lasting energy. There are plenty of foods that can make you feel sluggish — and that may vary from person to person.

If you find yourself constantly exhausted, though, and there’s no medical reason for it, you might want to take a look at what you’re eating.

Addresses your mind and spirit, not just what you eat
You have to get at your “why”. Why you want to eat healthy: what are  you hoping to get out of it? Look good in your clothes? Feel good about yourself? Get off medications? I seem to be a broken record on this subject lately, but that’s because it’s just that important.

Your why may change over time, too. For instance, when I started with Weight Watchers decades ago, my why was mostly to look good. Many young people’s why to lose weight is to look good.

When I recommitted to Weight Watchers in my late 40s, my why had changed. Of course I enjoy looking better in my clothes, but that’s mostly a side benefit. That is still a why, but instead of being about looking good, it’s about self esteem — I feel better about myself when I’m at a healthy weight.

And that’s just one why. One of my biggest whys is to age gracefully — to be happy with myself, to be able to do the things I enjoy, to keep old age ailments at bay for as long as possible.

This is point#5 for a good reason: if you take nothing else away from this post, I hope you take away that in order to change, you must delve deep into your why.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

What does a healthy lifestyle look like to you?

Do you get anxious about having to eat out?

What is your why?

I’m also linking up with Nicole @ Fitfulfocus and her Fit & Fashionable Friday linkup (been a while!) today.

Fitful Focus

 

5 favorites this week

Last Friday I shared with you some favorite recipes from Ambitious Kitchen; this Friday is also favorites with the Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run. So I’m taking the easy way out and just sharing some favorites from the week!

So good I had to make it more than once

Cinnamon Roll French Toast
Trader Joes makes a cinnamon roll bread that is really good — no doubt because each small slice has 9 grams of sugar. It’s actually been sitting in my freezer for at least 6 months, but this week I hit it up for French Toast. Twice.

I actually still managed to lose weight this week, which is sort of a mystery considering the sodium from the soup I was drinking all week and the sugar in this French Toast (I top it with nut butter, not syrup, so there’s that) and the fact that I ran right before my meeting, too.

Frolic is versatile!

New Frolic print from Skirtsports
I shared this on instagram (I’ll follow you if you follow me!) but this new print is just so cheery and cute and I want it in everything that Skirtsports offers (don’t forget Code CRJ20 for 20% off regularly priced items).

As seen on my run

Scenes from my run
Yup, I got out for a couple of quick runs and enjoyed the wildlife at the park. Even if the ducks swam away from me.

I was actually concerned for the cow nearest the fence in the photo abvoe — she stuck her head through the fence, but as soon as I stopped to take a photo she pulled it back in.

I like to take my shoes out 🙂

Sushi . . . twice
On Sunday my appetite was beginning to come back, but I still didn’t have the energy to actually get changed and go out, so we ordered sushi in (yes, one of my favorite places delivers, but sadly we couldn’t use the coupon Mr. Judy had).

He also had another coupon that was expiring on Tuesday, and we did go out so that we could use it then. We rarely go out to eat twice in one week, and definitely not sushi twice in one week!

Works for me. In the photo above I’m dressed to go to my Weight Watchers meeting, although I did wear a different dress and some heels to go out on Tuesday!

Definitely think they did a good job with Jamie

Finishing Outlander*
I have one more episode to watch, actually, but I should definitely finish it by the end of the weekend. A lot of nudity in it, and I do think a lot of it was actually kind of gratuitous, although some of it is important to the plot. I just think they went overboard.

I think they did a fairly good job with most of the casting, except for Frank. He definitely wasn’t as cute as I’d pictured him in my mind.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Do you pay attention to the sugar in foods?

What would be your pick for your last meal?

What was a favorite from your week?

* Disclaimer: this is an affiliate link. I make a very small commission if you buy this product from Amazon after clicking through my link.

5 Recipes from Ambitious Kitchen . . .

. . . You Need to Try

Before joining the Summer Sweat Series (it’s over now, but I highly recommend it and am so glad I tried it), Ambitious Kitchen was not even on my radar. And that’s just a cryin’ shame, because Monique’s recipes are just so darn good.

SSS may be over, but I’m still exploring the recipes I didn’t get to while it was on. Unfortunately apparently I’ve been falling down in the photo department– I thought I had photos of at least some of the treats, but no, nothing got photographed. Too eager t eat, I guess. Take my word for it — they’re worth it.

I had my last blueberry muffin for a snack yesterday, so I did get in a photo of that.

You’ll notice that most of the recipes I tried are baked goods. You know how I love to bake, and I have to keep Mr. Judy in breakfasts, too. You’ll also know that a lot of the recipes use ingredients you may not have on hand — almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar. Because I like to bake and I like to experiment, I didn’t have to go out and buy any special ingredients. You can make your own almond flour (I don’t, but you can), but if you decide to try a coconut flour recipe, you’ll need to buy it.

I’ve gone on to explore more of Monique’s recipes, as well (would love to see a cookbook from her!). My latest one was the Double Chocolate Paleo Banana Bread, which, believe it or not, has no added sugar.

So today I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes with Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run. And no, the pancakes pictured below are not the Fluffy Coconut Pancakes I mentioned previously, but I’ve made them a few times, too.

ambitiouskitchen

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
One of the nice thing about the SSS was that there was a nice mix of recipes, with a fair amount of vegetarian options. I’m not vegetarian — I actually eat everything — but I fall more pescetarian (mostly vegetarian + fish).

There were a lot of vegetarian recipes I meant to try, and still mean to try, but this is one of the ones I did try.

I was a little disappointed in at first, but it grew on me. I’m not sure that I’ll make it again (maybe) – still quite a few other recipes I need to try.

Nutrition Rich Blueberry Breakfast Cookies
Mr. Judy likes easily portable breakfasts, and who doesn’t want cookies for breakfast anyway? I didn’t hear any complaints when I sent him into work with these, and two cookies have almost 10 gm of protein.

Coconut Flour Banana Bread
No added sugar, folks — and it tastes great! I’ve made it a couple of times already. For SSS they had you leave out the chocolate chips and add in a cup of blueberries. And yes, I did that. And yes, like I said, it was great.

I eat plenty of chocolate, but I know it’s not in my best interest to always eat chocolate.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Almost no bake: you do toast the oats and quinoa, but otherwise you just throw in a bunch of ingredients, mix it up, and boy do you come away with a treat. These served as my post workout treat quite a few times.


Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
I thought these were so good, I wanted to hoard them all for myself. Oddly Mr. Judy didn’t share my enthusiasm, but maybe that’s because he didn’t have them hot out of the oven with just a wee bit of butter on them.

I enjoyed them as a snack on their own, or sometimes I paired them with some eggs for breakfast.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Do you have a favorite type of quick bread or muffin?

If I peeked in your pantry, would there be coconut flour in it?

Sweet or savory for breakfast (or both)?

5 More Ways to Keep Going . . .

. . . When the Going Gets Tough

It isn’t always easy to finish what we start. There have definitely been times when I’ve been too tired, in too much pain, too disheartened, too stressed, too hot, too hungry . . .

Here are my first five tips to keep going and below are five more tips for pushing through a run when you really don’t want to for today’s Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run.

5more

Use what’s around you
In ZOOMA Annapolis 2015, coming back across that bridge for the second time, I was toast. Done. Finished. Yet I still had almost half the race to finish.

So I told myself that I would run to the next beam, then walk, then run. You can use trees, mail boxes, cars.

I find I generally don’t need to do this so much anymore, since I follow Galloway (loosely) and therefore always have a walking break coming up. Some nice fall days, though, I’ll run a fartlek — usually using trees — in this method, just because I want to; because it’s a good run and it feels good. Works just as well for those bad runs.

Think about anyone but you
I’ve definitely written about this tip before, but we tend to get caught up in everything that is happening to me when we run.

So make it about someone else: a loved one, someone who is ill, someone who can’t run due to injury, someone who’s passed. You can even designate a person to pray for/think about every mile.

Think about what your why
When things go wrong it’s easy to just slip into that negative mindset. Try to remember why you are running: to get in shape, to challenge yourself, to train for a race, to have some me time.

If you’re having a bad race, remember why you chose that particular race in the first place.

Think about your goals
Building on “think about your why”: when it comes to races (or even training runs), it’s good to have goals. Not “a goal”, but multiple goals.

Maybe it’s to get in shape. Maybe it’s to get faster. Maybe it’s to go further. Maybe it’s to be able to run without feeling like your lungs will explode.

Whatever your goal is, think about it when the going gets tough.

Do a body scan
This is something I’ve gotten away from, and I need to do this more often.

Start at your feet. Go up your calves, your thighs and hamstrings, and so on and so forth. Don’t forget to relax your hands, your shoulders, your face.

Practice a little gratitude — for legs that allow you to run, for lungs that take in the oxygen your muscles need, for a heart that circulates your blood to all your muscles and organs.

And while you’re at it, be grateful you can run. It’s a gift.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Do you ever thank your body for the ability to run while running?

Do you have goals for each run?

What sort of goals do you have for your runs?

5 Ways to Keep Going . . .

. . . When the Going Gets Tough

I shared my admiration for runners who are able to quit on their planned training runs. Sounds weird, huh? But sometimes you really should, and I have real trouble with that. But sometimes you need to push through the bad runs, too.

I’m pretty sure I’ve shared these tips before, but I’m not sure I’ve shared them in a formal post (or maybe I did, but I don’t remember it), so here goes.

So here are five tips for pushing through a run when you really don’t want to for today’s Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run.

keepgoing

Smile
I do it often on my runs — not necessarily because I feel like smiling, but because smiling makes you feel better.

Go into the bathroom. Look at yourself. Now smile. Don’t you feel better?

Sometimes I’m smiling in race photos because I am truly having a great race. Sometimes the smile is forced. But it works. As they say, a smile is just a frown upside down. Or is that a frown is a smile upside down?

Repeat a mantra
You may feel that mantras are too hippy dippy or touchy feely, but at the very least, they distract you from whatever has got you hating your run.

The power of positive thinking, people!

I’m a beast in the heat

Dig deep

Start strong, finish stronger

No excuses, finish

img_6049
I run for chocolate ice cream. That ought to be on a tshirt!

Think about what you’re going to eat after your run
Coco @ Running with Perseverance and I were just discussing this on her post Fearing Fear Itself. One of her questions at the end of the post was whether or not you planned out your recovery meal while running.

I one upped her: I often plan it the day before! Or in the case of the ice cream I had last week, I’d been trying to figure out how to work that one in for weeks.

Eat something!
Sometimes you just need a little carb boost mid run. Not on your short runs, but on your LSD (long, slow distance runs). It’s really tempting to not eat anything so maybe you could burn off a little extra jiggle, and sometimes I do a fasted LSD (when they’re on the shorter side).

Sometimes you really do need those carbs, though.

Count steps
This only happens on really, really, really bad runs. Thankfully, I think it’s been a few years since I’ve had to resort to this.

It’s a variation of the “I’ll hop on the treadmill for 10 minutes and if I’m not feeling it, I’ll stop“. Once I’m going for 10 minutes, I’m usually good to go.

So if I’m totally hating my run but I don’t want to bail (and I never bail, so far, anyway), I’ll count 10 steps. And then do it again. And again and again . . . basically, I just have to keep going for the next 10 steps.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Do you have a favorite mantra?

Are you more likely to bail on a run in the summer or winter?

What’s your favorite tip to keep going?

You are not a number

number

I figure y’all need a break from all things doggie.

I started writing this post before Bandit entered our lives, and I think it’s a very important post: it is easy to define ourselves by numbers, but we are so much more than any number associated with us.

 

It’s free Friday this week’s Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run and I suppose it’s appropriate for a Friday Five post to revolve around numbers.

age
You can’t stop the march of time

Age

You are as young as you feel.

It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.

We don’t stop running because we get old, we get old because we stop running.

All those quotes are true. I’m not saying things don’t change as we age — they do. We can choose how we react to those changes, but our age does not define us.

Finish Time
And speaking of things changing as we age . . . I’m lucky, I guess, in a way, that I started running when I was older. I haven’t yet hit the “wall” of age, that point when our finish times begin to decline.

In fact, Coach Debbie recently wrote an excellent post on that very subject: Running Against Time.

My finish times can be all over the place, though.

I actually do think finish times can be important, and there’s a blog post in there someday, but the most important thing is that you got out there and moved your body.

Someday, inevitably, my times will slow — which is always surprising to this turtle runner, but it’s true — we can age well, but we will still age. When that happens, I hope I do not let declining finish times define me.

Scale
The scale doesn’t reflect how well you ate. The scale doesn’t tell you how much muscle you put on or lost. The scale doesn’t tell you how consistent you were with your exercise. The scale doesn’t say just think about the sodium laden meal you consumed before stepping on me.

It’s a tool, but the number it spits out at you doesn’t mean you’re a good or bad person, a winner or a failure. It’s data, plain and simple.

Clothing Size
Don’t even get me started on vanity sizing.

I’m normally a small or about a size 6 in pants. But I have clothes that are XS and M, and all the way up to a size 10 — that fit me.

There is no holy grail clothing size to shoot for, because there is no standard sizing. Moving on.

Steps
Everyone likes a challenge, right? It seems like the more steps, the merrier. You know those nasty little things called stress fractures? Basically they happen when you overexercise. And you know what? You can overexercise with any exercise, not just running.

Yes, walking too much could lead to a stress fracture, too.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea to look at your steps, or even to shoot for more steps. But do it intelligently — don’t shoot for a certain number of steps because that’s what someone else is doing. Treat it like running: don’t increase too quickly; remember, slow and steady wins the race.

I’ll leave you with this very short video (yes, Tricia, Karen, and Paula — did it on the first try):


Let me know what you think in the comments:

What changing number are you okay with?

What changing number bothers you?

Do you find yourself defining yourself with numbers?