It’s really about what you put in your body


I’m like many (but not all) women: part of why I’m active is about getting a little more wiggle room in what I can eat. Being vertically challenged and in my late 50s, weight management is an ongoing “exercise” in juggling food and activity.

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So what do I do when being active isn’t an option? Illness isn’t always the reason, there are many other reasons we can’t be as active as we’d like to (travel, work demands, taking care of others, injury, to name a few).

Weight management isn’t all about exercise, it’s much more about what we put in our bodies and how we treat ourselves.

Do what you can
Sometimes that means resting. The first day I was sick was a total rest day. No worrying about steps; not a whole of hunger, either. Whoever said feed a fever got it all wrong — when I have a fever I am so not hungry.

The next few days were still rest days, but I did do some gentle yoga. Yoga aimed specifically at colds/flu. When you’re still sick but you’re not completely wiped out, some gentle movement can be very helpful.

As I felt better, I also started to walk the dogs again. Not as long as I usually do, but it’s always good to get out in some sunshine and fresh air — if nothing else, it elevates your mood.

Be gentle with yourself
If you’ve had a fever, it’s a really bad idea to go hard the minute that fever breaks. Your body is fighting some sort of illness, and it needs all its energy directed to healing. Some movement is good, but getting right back into hard training can be a recipe for being down and out even longer.

Rest and you will heal quicker; push and you may get sick again.

Chicken soup really is a healing food (and comforting)

Be careful with the comfort foods
It’s so tempting to comfort ourselves with food. Some comfort foods can be healthy — but often they aren’t. A nice bowl of chicken noodle soup can definitely work wonders; #allthecookies are not your friend.

Everyone is different, but things that probably won’t be healing are:

  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Too much fruit. Yes, fruit is definitely healthy, but you can have too much of a good thing.
  • White foods (bagels, bread, for instance). White potatoes are the exception — they are not the devils they’ve been made out to be; it’s all about what you put on them and they are very easy to digest.
  • Processed foods.

Healing foods:

  • Soups
  • Garlic, Onions, Turmeric
  • Salmon
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Orange foods (carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes)

Neither of these lists are by any means complete, but they’re food for thought.

Eat a little less
If you’re not as active (or not active at all) your body just won’t be burning as many calories. You might not be as hungry . . . but you could be. If I’m sick and not active, I keep an eye on how much I’m eating and will typically eat a little less than normal. I was rewarded with a loss at the scale this week, despite very little activity.

You don’t want to severely restrict food — your body is still doing plenty of work just keeping you alive and healing itself, and eating too little food can as harmful as eating too much.

Do you go for comfort foods when you’re sick?

What foods on the healing foods list sound appealing to you?

What is the weirdest thing you eat when you’re sick (and why)?

I think most of us have come to realize that not all calories are created the same. It’s important to make your calories count when you’re feeling under the weather — you don’t have to gain weight just because you can’t be as active; what you put in your body will always trump activity in the long run. — Chocolaterunsjudy

My Quest for Steps


Or how I walked 5 miles in my house

I wrote about my strange rungries and sleep disturbances when I started to run again after a short runbbatical here. This week I’m going to talk about how I managed to get in my steps — even with bitter cold, no running, limited power, and no dog walks.

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Imagine this scenario: it’s about 1 degree outside. You’ve lost power, but at least the generator is keeping the house warm. No treadmill though, so running, while an option for some, wasn’t an option for me — it was not only cold, it was incredibly windy, which is why we lost power in the first place.

I live in an ordinary house of roughly 1800 square feet. Now can you imagine getting in 10,000 steps with no treadmill and without going outside (except to get the mail)?

Pay attention to the Garmin
I’ve been working on upping my steps on non running days for a while now. Since I have a Garmin Vivoactive, it buzzes to let me know that I’ve been immobile for too long. I often use that as a sign to get up and move around.

Except when I don’t. Sometimes I get engrossed in whatever I am doing and I just ignore my Garmin. It does help me be mindful of when I’m sitting too long, though.

Up and down, around and round, for 5 miles

Walk around every hour
If I wait for my Garmin to buzz at me, no doubt I’ve already been sitting too long. So my next thought was to try to get up every hour and walk around a little. This is a really good strategy — again, when you can pry yourself away from whatever it is you’re doing.

Some days, when I know that I’m likely to be less active, I up the ante and try to get up every half hour. I don’t always, of course, but having a goal makes it more likely that you actually do something.

Extend the pacing
Rather than worrying too much about steps, I set a simple goal to walk around a couple of minutes every hour. Then I’d try to beat that: walk for 3 minutes, walk for 4, etc. It really doesn’t seem like much, but it can sure add up over the course of a day.

If you’re at work, walking every hour and extending the time you walk are good strategies — if it’s possible at your place of work, of course. A walking lunch break can really help you get in some steps; it has the added benefit of hopefully getting  you outside and giving you some more energy.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way
I did it. 5 miles simply walking around my house, either in a conscious attempt to get in more steps or just as part of my normal day. No dogwalk, no run. I won’t say it was easy, but it is doable.

How do you get in your steps when you can’t get outside?

Do you have a certain number of steps you aim for each day?

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done to meet your step goal?

You can do anything you set your mind to — the trick is to make the decision to just do it (thank you, Nike) and just take the first step. — Chocolaterunsjudy

What will keep you running?


It was just earlier in the week that I wrote tips for getting in more activity in Winter (read that post here). Well, there’s a dark side to that story. It’s no secret that Winter is not my favorite season. There was a reason I interviewed with companies in more temperate climates when I was a senior in college.

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Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.— Newt Gingrich

Running in the cold is my achilles hill. Now wait a minute, you’re probably thinking, aren’t you the same CRJ who says she’d always rather do a cold race than a hot race? Guilty as charged. But being cold, run after run after run, the time it takes me to warm back up after a cold run . . . it all just wears me down.

Sure I have the gears, the tools, and the habits to keep me running even in some pretty darn cold weather. What I don’t always have is the will. I just get so gosh darned tired of being cold.

I know, I know, I have not cornered the market on cold weather running. We can get pretty darn cold up here, but there’s always someplace that’s that much more ridiculously colder. And the runners who post the icy runfies to prove that if you want to, you can run in some pretty crappy weather. And I do!

Eventually, though, I just come to my breaking point. I just can’t bear to be cold any more. It’s not even so much being cold on the run, it’s how I feel after the run.

Yeah, it gets old. Really, really old.

So what’s a tired, cold runner to do?
There’s always the treadmill, obviously. And I admit I choose it on days that I know I could have run outside. Just because I’m so tired of being cold. I don’t love my treadmill, I don’t hate my treadmill, but I love that it’s an option in the comfort of my own home with a nice, big flat screen tv to watch.

The thing that really keeps me running, though, is training for a race. Many runners will go into races undertrained. My body objects to this, and so I do my very best to make sure I’m trained.

This training cycle was strange: I started out with a pretty achy, beat up body (but thankfully not truly injured). It was literally a slow start, with very slow paces. Ok, I thought, this one will be for fun. It’s my birthday trip and I’ve wanted to see Savannah forever.

Clearly my body needs some rest. So I’ll nix the speed work, run by feel, and try alternating 3 day weeks with 4 day weeks. Before I knew it, though, the aches had mostly disappeared and I was running normal paces again. I continued alternating 3 day weeks and 4 day weeks, but I added speed work back in, sometimes twice a week and sometimes just once a week.

Training mostly went well, but there are always those runs that are just crappy for whatever reason. Then we put Gizmo to sleep during the peak week of my training, and my heart wasn’t really in running, but I did it anyway.

I don’t really know what to expect from this race — but then again, we don’t ever know what to expect from a race. I know I’ve done my best, I’ve run through lots of crappy weather and a few nice days, and thankfully I never had to do a long run on the treadmill (which just might kill Old Faithful).

It also kept me out there running. I have no other big goal race on my schedule. There are some maybes, some wannas, but there is nothing I’m signed up for. I’ll still be out there running, because I don’t want to have to start from scratch when I do sign up for that next half.

What your Achilles’ Heel?

How do you overcome it?

Has it changed over the years?

You can have all the right gear, but if you don’t have the right motivation — for you — you’re going to struggle. And probably start, and stop, and start, etc. Find your motivation and nothing can stop you. — Chocolaterunsjudy

It was different then


Life changes you, whether you want it to or not. It’s a good thing, though — life changes you for the better. A few more wrinkles but a whole lot more wisdom. A bigger stomach but a bigger capacity to love and laugh. When we’re open to it, change is a good thing.

Or as Deena wrote in “Let Your Mind Run” (Amazon Affiliate link, read my review here):

The flexible tree puts down strong roots — Deena Kastor

Fairytales and Fitness

Aging gracefully is about being flexible, being open, allowing change, enjoying change and loving yourself. — Wendy Whelan

These were the largest jeans I ever wore — but now maintaining my weight is about being healthy, not looking cute

When I was young, it was definitely dieting — can we say Slimfast? 2 tiny bars and then a regular dinner? Did it work? It depends on your definition of working — yeah, I lost the weight I needed to to fit into my sister’s wedding dress, but it didn’t stay off long.

Even my first go round with Weight Watchers (or WW as it’s now known) — I was determined, and I became a lifetime member the first time round — not many people do that. Again, though, I did it in a way that wasn’t sustainable.

The problem back then was that it was all about looking good, and not so much about feeling good. That’s changed. That’s why this time I’ve managed to keep the weight off (which isn’t to say I never struggle with it — it’s still hard).

Enjoying the process

When I moved to some place where I knew no one for my first job after college, I taught myself to knit and crochet (with help from some coworkers). Back then it was all about finishing. I wanted to get it done, to see how it would turn out. Yes, I enjoyed the process, but it was all about the end result, not so much about the journey.

I was hot and heavy with knitting for a long time, but it kind of petered out when I lived in TX. Oh, I’d pick up my needles now and again, I joined a knitting club at one point, but it was a hobby I’d put away for a long time.

Then some people in my running group decided they wanted to learn to knit. I figured I’d do something simple, but that got me looking through my yarn, looking at patterns . . . knitting . . . and remembering how much I loved it.

The funny thing is, it’s much more about the journey than the end result now. I don’t really need much in the way of hats or scarves or afghans, but I still enjoy simply sitting and knitting. Of course I want to enjoy the finished project, but now it’s much more about the meditative quality of knitting rather than the finished project. Plus I’ve discovered listening to audiobooks while I knit!

It’s different now
Goals, hobbies, jobs . . . they’re always changing. They should be always changing. We should be always changing. That’s what makes life exciting. And scary.

Learning to enjoy the journey, rather than the end result — that’s what ultimately makes us happy.

What has changed for you as you’ve grown older?

What change are you scared to make?

Are you able to enjoy the journey?

Enjoying the journey should always be the goal. The payoff at the end of the journey is short lived, but that journey to get there is long — enjoying the journey will keep you going. — Chocolaterunsjudy


What will change for you in 2019?

bsmallstepsAre you a resolutions/goals person, or do you ignore all the hype of New Year’s resolutions, figuring that resolutions never work anyway?

There’s an old saying from Weight Watchers or WW as they style themselves now:

If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.

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Tweak your life
Whether you believe in resolutions/goals or not, chances are your life isn’t perfect. There’s no need to overhaul your whole life and make lofty resolutions that have no hope of ever being fulfilled.

Some hydrating spa water, but I also go for simple H20

You can change your life with some small tweaks, though, and here are a few I’m doing (some I had already started before the ball dropped on 2019):

  • Drink more water. I don’t drink juices or soda, but I realized how heavily I rely on teas. While there’s nothing wrong with that, plain old H2O does a body good. So I’ve been drinking more of it.
  • Walk more. I wrote about this a while back, how I’d relaxed my walking because I thought I do enough running. Then I realized I really do need to move more, and since the weather is often nasty at this time of year, my treadmill has been getting a workout — a walking workout, that is!
  • Utilize those stairs. I’ll never be Kim @ Runningonthefly, but I decided recently I could use my stairs more. So when I’m pacing around the house because I’ve been sitting too long, I also go up and down the stairs a little. This is one I know I need to build on slowly, because too many stairs too soon can irritate my IT.
  • Preplan my meals. I know for a lot of people this sounds nuts, but it works for me. And of course I’ve gotten away from it. I just plan out my day the night before — and if I feel like changing it — which I often do — I just change it. Having a plan helps me to make better choices, and I suck at following other people’s meal plans.
  • Mindful eating. I don’t read or watch tv while I eat, but sometimes I find myself gobbling down my food when I’m busy — sometimes even when I’m not. We don’t taste our food when we do that, which can lead to overeating! One way I slow down and savor my meals is by closing my eyes — when I’m by myself, anyway.
  • Taking it to the stairs — simple steps!

Simple steps to a better life
Some people love those big, scary goals to motivate themselves. Sometimes I do, too. You can never go wrong with small steps to a better you.

What small changes are you making in 2019?

Do you have any big goals for 2019?

Or are you completely happy with your life as it is right now?

Big, hairy, audacious goals are wonderful. Without the small steps you most likely won’t meet those goals. So dream big, but start small. — Chocolaterunsjudy

1 Way to Stay Motivated

It’s quickie Friday! I’ll bet most of you are deep into the Holiday Hustle, as Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunnercalls it. I’m not, but the last couple of weeks were a bit tiring with Gizmo and that inherent stress. He may not be completely back to normal; it could be his new normal — but he’s a whole lot better!

So how do you motivate yourself to stay active when you’re crazy busy, you’re tired and the couch is calling, and the sun is nowhere to be found?

Fairytales and Fitness


Yes, we are all perfect just as we are

Surround yourself with motivation
I like to pick up inexpensive motivational saying tchotkes and have them around the house where I’ll see them often. Homegoods, TJMaxx, and Marshalls are all good sources.

In my bedroom — I see this before going to sleep every night

You are what you surround yourself with
The more positive thoughts we have, the more positive our outlook on life. So why not surround yourself with positive affirmations?

There are lots of preprinted cards you can pick up, too. I got Louse Hay’s Power Thought Cards on Amazon here (Amazon Affiliate link). When I remember, I change out my cards.

I may love a bit too many things

Love is all around
I struck out at Homegoods looking for love-themed inspiration, but I found a couple of plaques at Marshalls.

Do you have a favorite positive saying/affirmation?

Do you try to accentuate the positive?

How do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling unmotivated?

What you dream about, you bring about

5 Reasons Love is My 2019 Word

ballyouneedisloveEvery year I choose a word to focus on; a word of the year, if you like. Usually at some point it just pops into my head at some point, but I must say this year that didn’t happen. I did find myself thinking about the word Love on one run, nothing else has popped into mind, so I’m going with it.

Love: it’s a good word, isn’t it? It’s all you need and all around, after all.

Fairytales and Fitness

Previous words:


Self Love
Not too long ago I wrote about how important self love is (read it here). If you don’t love yourself, you will never be able to change whatever in your life you want to change (assuming you want to change something).

If you don’t love yourself, you will never appreciate what you do have and find happiness. It all starts with self love.

Love Your Life
We all have bad days, weeks, months, even years. Life happens and it ain’t always pretty. Here’s the thing, though: we only have one life. Hating your life is just a waste of time, don’t you think?

That doesn’t mean you have to love everything about your life, and it also doesn’t mean that you have to accept everything about your life. You have the power to change. If you don’t come from a place of love in the first place, though, that change is unlikely to stick.

Finish lines are fleeting. You have to learn to love what gets you to the finish line.

Love the Process
This is one that doesn’t come easily to me. Enjoying the process without getting hung up on the end result. I chose to do this, right? The good and the bad — it’s all part of the process.

Learn to love the process and the end results will take care of themselves.

Decluttering, using things from my travels — a few things that make a house a home!

Love Your Home
This one really doesn’t come easily to me. I would rather do almost anything than clean and declutter. When I do those things, though, I am happier. I have made a lot of progress this year — but there is still lots more work to do before I really love my whole home.

As with loving yourself, though, loving your house, warts and all, is the key to loving your home (see what I did there . . . house vs home?).

Love Others
Love starts with yourself, but it will spill over into all areas of your life. The more you love yourself, the more you can love others — warts and all.

Have you ever picked a word to concentrate on for a year?

Do you have a 2019 word? What is it?

What are of love do you need to work on?

I believed and I did it; crossing the finish line after 18 miles

Looking back and forward
2018’s word was Believe (you can read that post here). In rereading that post, I was only signed up for one half when I wrote it — The Cape Cod Half Marathon (read about it here), which was part of the AMR retreat. And yet I ran 2 other halfs (here and here) and an 18 mile race (read about it here).

Guess what? I’m only signed up for one half in 2019, too, and I’m not even sure I will make it to the starting line due to circumstances beyond my control — although I would definitely still love to.

2018 broke my Half PR streak, but there were still enough PRs to make me happy. I had to dig deep and really believe to tackle my longest race in one of our hottest summers ever. There were quite a few curveballs on the personal front. Here’s what I wrote last year about Believe:

Even without a plan, I believe that 2018 can be a great year filled with new challenges to conquer, more fun with friends, and yes, hopefully more hiking, too!

You know what? Except for the hiking, I was right on (although at least there was some hiking). And here’s what I believe about 2019: no matter what happens in 2019, with the right attitude, I will love 2019, I will accept the highs and the lows, and no matter what life throws at me, this too shall pass.