It’s Just One of Those Days …

19 Feb

Happy Healthy Hump-day! How I do love Wednesdays! Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous; perfect running weather. So, yeah, I totally tapped that. Nine miles in the bag. The only problem: I’ve been running on the treadmill pretty much all winter. And we all know that nine treadmill miles does NOT equal nine road miles. I am one stiff woman today. My yoga/Pilates class this morning was an extra joy.

So, yesterday was beautiful, but today–not so much. Gloomy, that’s how I’d describe this Wednesday. Gloomy weather saps my energy. I NEED sunshine! I don’t want to reach for caffeine or sugar and neither do you, right? Of course! I’m glad we’re in agreement there. So I put together a quick yoga flow to use as a pick-me-up for day’s like today. Give it a try!

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No-bake Cinnamon Bun Balls

23 Jan

I’m feeling good while kicking the soda habit. I mean, nothing life-changing has happened–no significant physical benefits that I can tell as of yet. However, after watching the news this morning and hearing that they have found that soda made with caramel coloring (cola drinks) may contain unhealthy amounts of a known carcinogen called 4-Mel, I am glad that I am kicking this addiction! Meanwhile, I’m enjoying a lot more water and herbal tea. Some hot chocolate may sneak in from time to time as well. But in general I have been focused on eating healthier. And that just feels good!

In the spirit of sharing and passing along anything good and healthy, I will share my new favorite snack:photo-11

No-bake Cinnamon Bun Balls

  • 1 C pitted dates
  • 1 C almonds (raw)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional; may reduce or omit)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ C shredded coconut

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a sticky meal forms. Using a small cookie/ice cream scoop or your hands, form 1-inch balls with the sticky meal. Refrigerate and store in an airtight container.

I use almonds for these treats just because I prefer almonds to cashews. That said, you can use cashews and get a doughier mixture that forms well and can be easily made into bars. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

I Found a New Love

15 Jan

I have been writing and working on publishing novels since I was 22 years old. I never thought I’d find something I love doing more than writing. But, low and behold, I find myself waking up giddy every Tuesday because I know that Wednesday I get to teach Sport Yoga/Pilates to my favorite ladies. I think I definitely get more from my Healthy Hump-day classes than the women that I teach simply because I get to do something that I love.

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(Image courtesy of Google Images)

As much as I love running, Pilates and Sport Yoga feel SOOO good. My body craves it and rewards me for indulging.

Every class, I tell my “students” that I love downward-facing dog. It’s my happy pose and I sincerely encourage everyone to make down dog their happy pose.

But to make it a workout I like to include a move some call “Dogging Cobra” in my routines. Basically, start in down dog, exhale and as you inhale come into up dog. Feel that stretch and as you exhale, move back into down dog. Repeat, moving with your breath.

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You will seriously feel this move in your abs, shoulders, chest, hips, and even your butt and thighs. Talk about an all-in-one move.

Give it a try; I promise, you’ll thank me later.

Choices, Choices …

6 Jan

As practical and pragmatic as I can be at times, I am a surprisingly superstitious person.

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My husband brought home this little gem from an Asian market. These little waving kitties supposedly bring good fortune and prosperity according to Japanese culture. So, yeah, that ‘s what I keep thinking about when I see it around the house (my daughter keeps picking it up and moving it: couch, counter top, ottoman …). Who doesn’t want good luck, good fortune, and prosperity?

The fact remains there is no such thing as luck or “good fortune.” There is only choice and consequence. A quote I love as I embark on my soda-free journey:

“I free myself not by trying to be free, but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment I am imprisoning myself.” –Rick Carson, Taming Your Gremlin

This quote, while basically negative, still calls the reader to remember their accountability. Accountability = Power. Power = Control. Control = Freedom. Freedom = Joy. See how that works?

Lately, I am making hourly choices about what I put into my body. As I fight the urge to drive down to the gas station and fill up a 44 ouncer with ice, Coke Zero, a splash of vanilla, a splash of cherry, and a twist of lemon–in that order. Sounds good, doesn’t it? … Oh, well. What was I saying? Oh, yeah–choices.

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This is what I am choosing this morning.

I know I’ll feel better after an hour on the treadmill, but I’m still trying to work myself up to it.

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?

Anyone else superstitious?

So Long, Soda Addiction!

2 Jan

I don’t do resolutions. I talked about that here. But, this year I am making an exception. For the first time ever, I have made a New Year’s resolution.

It has been said that admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming said problem. So, with much humility (read: shame) I stand before you (just go with me here) to admit that I, Fifi, have a problem; I am a diet soda addict. And I am afraid I have modeled this behavior to my children. I am not proud of this, but I am human. Like any other human, I need healthy coping strategies. And after 15 years of stay-at-home motherhood, diet soda has become one of my go-to coping strategies. It is a reward, a pick-me-up, a soothing comfort food–if you will.

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But, no more. As of January 1, 2014, I will no longer partake. I have committed to quit using soda as my beverage of choice and will opt for water instead. Don’t get me wrong, soda is not completely off limits. I will still enjoy a diet soda from time to time, like most normal people I know do. I will just limit that consumption to a normal, healthy, dietician approved amount instead of liters at a time.

Day two off diet soda and I am happy to say that I am feeling fine. I will admit that I was nervous about this morning’s 9 treadmill miles seeing how in the past I’ve relied on diet Coke to get me through a long run on the treadmill. And I will also admit that the run did not feel great (partly due to the fact that I need new shoes, which I promptly ordered this evening). But I survived. And I will continue to survive. I am committed to kicking this soda addiction!

What about you?Have you committed to change this year? Do you do New Year’s resolutions?

This Is Why I Run

9 Dec

As part of the publicity tour for Indigo I had the opportunity to write a post for the wonderful website DearTeenMe.comFirst of all, let me just say how much I love this website. Authors are invited to write a letter to their teen selves, sometimes funny, sometimes apologetic, always thoughtful. There is something cathartic in writing a letter to your former self. If you haven’t, I suggest you do. I wrote three letters. Well, actually, I wrote one letter that went through several evolutions before settling into a fine little post about running. I won’t post the entire letter here (to read the letter in its entirety follow the link to DearTeenMe.com), but I do want to share this with you:

Dear Teen Me . . .

. . . You think running is hard now? Toughing out those painful steps while you are young will prepare you for some of your darkest days . . . Running through pain and fatigue gives you strength and endurance. And you need those things not just today, but also down the road. . . .

. . . In the long run, you will regret giving up. You will regret not pushing yourself a little harder, a little longer. . .  

. . . Invest in yourself! Life isn’t about winning; it’s about participating. Stop saying you can’t; don’t worry about failure. Security isn’t found in the eyes of a stranger or the arms of a boyfriend. You won’t find it in awards and medals, or the accolades of others. Stop chasing those things! Security is found in patience, faith, the right attitude, confidence and perseverance. Running will help cultivate these traits in you. Do it now, while your future is ahead of you. Find joy one step at a time. Choose happiness today. And never, ever give up!

Keep running; the finish line is closer than you think!

This is why I run! I meant every word of this letter to my teenage self. 

Let me back up a little.

I remember the sixth grade physical fitness testing all too well. In fact, it’s kind of etched into my memory like a scar. The mile run just did me in. Four laps around the kick-ball field left me light-headed and hyperventilating. I panicked and passed out.  At 5’3″ and 123 pounds, I wasn’t the tallest girl in my class, but I was the shapeliest, the curviest–I was about the same size as the teacher. It was humiliating when, unable to recover, my dad, a paramedic, was called. Much to my and my parents’ dismay, this little scenario was to be replayed every school year during the annual physical fitness test.

In high school, my sister and one of our closest friends joined the cross country team. Some of the girls on the team organized a few morning runs during summer break. Not wanting to be left out, I decided to join them on their inaugural summer run. Yeah, that lasted about two block. My lungs burned, my shins ached and I feared more than anything  collapsing on the side of the road and being left for dead. I turned around and walked home. And I never went back. Running simply wasn’t for me.

After high school, My sister got married, my best friend moved to a college 400 miles away. I was slightly overweight, unfit, and indulging in some unhealthy habits. I found myself unable to make or reach goals. I was lost–at least I felt lost. Something had to change. One evening, frustrated and disappointed with myself, I put on an old pair of second-hand Reeboks and some slouchy boxer shorts and went out for a run. It was slow. It probably wasn’t pretty. But it was a start. One block turned into six. One mile eventually turned into three or more. In time, my awkward stride found its rhythm and my sporadic runs evolved into a daily ritual. A runner was born.

I am not fast; I do not win. But that is not the point. Happiness is found in patience, faith, the right attitude, confidence and perseverance. Running will help cultivate these traits in you. Given time, you will find joy one step at a time.

So, what’s your story? If you could, what would you tell your teenage self?

Not-so Healthy Hump-Day

20 Nov

I had a great Healthy Hump-Day planned for today, but … I am also a mom and as all moms know, best laid plans can easily be undone by a sick child.

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She’s on the mend, but today’s Healthy Hump-Day class will have to wait.

Instead I will be hitting up the treadmill for an 8 mile jaunt (if said sick child is okay). And following up my treadmill date with this amazing little Yoga gem:

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Heaven knows after spending the night caring for a sick child, I need all the energy boosters I can get today.

How about you? Has sickness hit your home this season? What’s your favorite remedy for the typical stomach bug?