Ready to Run 100 REVIEW

100 miles. 30 days. No problem.

Or so I thought.

Our latest challenge, Ready to Run 100, was definitely harder than I thought it was going to be. I was ready for the physical challenge of it.

Cardiovascularly I knew it wouldn't be a problem at all. I was expecting to have sore feet and tired legs from all the running. But what I wasn't ready for was the mental challenge of it.

This challenge messed with my head like crazy!

Running, running and....well, more running. It was monotonous. Boring. And downright irritating to me at times. I didn't ever want to do focused workouts because I just wanted to direct all my energy to logging miles. But what I found was, as I put energy into logging miles, all my energy felt drained from me. And, not only that, I could tell I was getting slower!

So, as I reviewed this challenge I realized that, even though it had it's downsides, it was great for several reasons:

1. It shows the importance of focused workouts. Added in speed and strength workouts help you get faster, energize you, and keeps your mind and body more fresh. RaceDay workouts work for a reason.

2. It shows the importance of variety in workouts. Doing the same thing over and over again doesn't work all your muscles and it doesn't keep it interesting, so pretty soon exercise isn't interesting at all. And you plateau pretty quickly.

3. This one is more personal than anything...I hate just running. I suppose I do triathlon's for a reason. I need to change things up. I don't mind running if it's supplemented with biking and swimming. But straight running is not my gig.

The interesting thing about challenges is you never know what you are going to learn from them. They are so much more than the accomplishment. They are all about what you learn in the process.

So there you have it. I finished this morning with no days to spare. My last 5 miles were rough but I sprinted to the finish.

Happy that it was over.

Happy that I did it.

Happy that I won't be doing it again.

....at least not for awhile.



Okay...our new challenge is starting this Friday, October 1st, so gear up!

It is called Fruit or Consequences and it will be good for all of us.

We all know that we should be eating 5 a day. It's one of those things where we all go, "Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know." But then we don't do it. We struggle with our weight and our health and our energy levels and wonder why. We try different diets or schemes and eventually we throw our hands up in the air and say, "I don't get it, I've tried everything...nothing works."

Except....have you really?

Are you looking past the most simple of solutions because it just seems too easy?

How good are you actually doing at getting in 5 a day? 2 fruits and 3 vegetables? Every. Single. Day. ?

Now I am a fitness person. I eat fairly well. I exercise a lot. But you know what still eludes me? Being really consistent with my 5 a day....especially vegetables. So I know if I am struggling with it that many of you are too.

I know a lot of people believe they get in all of their servings by eating a big salad, but more than likely you are fooling yourself. Look up a chart like THIS to know what serving sizes actually are and be real with yourself. Just because a salad has a cherry tomato, some lettuce and a cucumber in it doesn't mean you just got in 3 full servings of vegetables. Most likely you just got in one, or less.

As you get in full serving sizes of each of your fruits and vegetables, and you are paying attention to your body feeling hungry or no longer hungry, you will have less room for other foods and therefore you will eat less junk...it's that simple. I know what you're thinking..."But I WANT to eat junk." Right, me too. But would you rather feel good, have energy, lose weight and be healthy more?

Eat your fruits and veggies first. Make them a priority and then when it comes time to eat the rest of your meal STOP when you are no longer hungry. Even if you only get to eat two bites of your meal. (And don't reward yourself with a donut for eating a carrot. :)

The more you eat real foods, consistently, the more efficiently your body will run. If you have been eating badly for awhile it may take some adjustment, but if you consistently get in your fruits and vegetables you will see how your body, and mind, will change.

30 days of a focused challenge can completely change your perspective and significantly change your habits. And being part of a group challenge is even more helpful. Commit yourself and see how it motivates you.

It sounds simple right?

Then do it!

Start: OCT 1st
End: OCT 31st

Fruit or Consequences RULES:

  • Eat 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables Daily. (you can't make up for missed servings the next day!)
  • Track your progress on THIS sheet (print out 1 for each week)
  • For each serving missed run 1 mile on Saturday. (aka: consequences)
  • Extra fruit servings DO NOT make up for vegetable servings, and vice versa. 2 fruits/3 vegetables. Period.
  • Do your best to spread out your servings through the day!
  • Post an "I'm in!" in the forum if you're doing this with us--it helps keep you accountable and gives you support. Let's do this thing.


Just Do ONE!

How many times have you intended to exercise and you just can't bring yourself to do it? It just seems too hard.
It happens to all of us. Sometimes just thinking about exercising is overwhelming and we just don't want to do it. If you find yourself having this battle see if you can convince yourself to just do one.
One set.
One mile.
One lap.
One push up.
Just do one.
More often than not you will think, "Okay, maybe I can do 2." and then 3...etc.
Generally all you need to do is get your blood moving and then you're fine but we get overwhelmed by the idea of having to dothe whole workout.

So eliminate that excuse.
If you're struggling, start with just one.
It will get you further than you think.



Have you ever watched somebody make major changes in their life and thought, “Man, I wish I could do that. It just seems too hard.” You think of all the changes you’d have to make. Even as you just think about it you can feel your body, mind and will fighting against it. It’s depressing and discouraging and just the idea of making the changes makes you want to curl up in bed, grab a tub of ice cream and make it all just go away.
Is this familiar at all? I have definitely been there.
Want to know something? It is actually MUCH harder to be there, in that emotional state wishing for change, than it is to actually change. It’s not the change that is hard, it’s finding the right way to go about the change that is most difficult.
An incredibly wise man once said:
When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” (Ezra Taft Benson)
I have found you can substitute the word obedience for just about anything.
When weight loss ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.”
When parenthood/exercise/healthy eating/financial stability, etc. ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.
When something becomes a quest nothing and nobody can stop you…and you know it.
Start your quest today.


Top 5 Reasons to Join RaceDay Training

1. You are lacking motivation with exercise and/or life in general.

2. You are bored with your workouts and want some new ideas.

3. You have a gym membership but you have no idea what to do once you get there.

4. You want support, accountability, or drive to help you reach your fitness goals.

5. You're tired of watching everyone else get in shape while you feel like a slug!

What are you waiting for? Sign up for RaceDay Training today.

The first step on the road to feeling good is STARTING down that road!

Your first 5 days are FREE and only $9.99/month if you choose to continue, so you've got nothing to lose.

click HERE to get on your way!


Self Worth vs. Self Denial

I can remember watching Jerry Springer when I was about 12 years old (why I was watching this, or allowed to watch this, I do not know). They had some very obese women on who were shouting and yelling at the audience about how sexy they were and how they were happy being the way they were. They went on and on about how there was nothing wrong with them being fat and they liked being that way.

I was confused. I couldn’t understand how they could really be happy like that. Not just because of how they looked, but also because of how uncomfortable they must have been. And they seemed so angry! They didn't seem happy at all, even though they were saying they were.

I have encountered this theme many times since, in less extreme ways. People who are overweight who claim to be happy with themselves. And I’ve figured it out—they’re not. They are miserable and are trying desperately to convince themselves, and others, that they are just fine. It seems easier to them than changing their bad habits. But it’s not true.

We are taught to love ourselves no matter what we look like, this I agree with. You definitely need to recognize what an amazing person you are and all you have to offer, but if you’re telling yourself, “I’m great just the way I am, why can’t people just accept me for who I am….” as you’re shoving a pan of brownies down your throat, that’s when self-worth has been swapped out for self-denial.

When people try to cover their bad habits by throwing the blame onto someone else you know there is a problem.

The reality is, if you have a healthy self-worth you will realize that downing a pan of brownies isn’t the way you should treat your body. You are worth more than that.

Try as we might, we can’t lie to ourselves. We can’t convince ourselves that we are happy with our health or our bodies when we know we aren’t treating them right.

Live to feel happy and healthy for you. Then you won’t have to convince anybody that you feel great—they will know it!


Who’s The Boss?

No. This isn’t a post about Tony Danza and his relationship with Angela or Mona. It’s about you and your relationship with food.

When we eat there is a lot of communication going on from a lot of different places: our brains, our bodies, our tongues, our friends, etc. All of this communication is pertinent, but when it comes to ending the meal, there is only one communicator that can be “boss”.

If I’m eating dinner with my friend (and I ONLY eat if I feel hunger) and I hit that point where I know I don’t really need to eat any more, here is an example of some communication that might be going on:

BRAIN: I probably shouldn’t eat any more. I bet there are so many calories in this. I should stop. Maybe it’s okay to have a little more of that bread…it’s wheat, that’s healthy right? Ugh!

BODY: I feel just right. Let’s stop.

TONGUE: Ohhhh, that tastes sooooo good. I want more. Just a little more won’t hurt. YUM! I don’t want to stop!

FRIEND: You’re not done are you? Let’s get dessert too.

If you look at all the communicators, only one is being fair to you. Only one doesn’t get emotionally involved. Only one is in control of the situation. Only one should be “boss”.

Your body.

When you eat your dial should be switched to “BODY”. That is the only communicator you should listen to as you eat. When it says: “I’m not hungry any more,” you stop.

Is your tongue gonna try to argue? Of course. Especially when you’ve been listening to it for such a long time.

Is your brain gonna try to stress you out and make you have excess worries? Yep. Especially with all the bombardments from the diet and nutrition industry.

Is your friend gonna try to tempt you? Quite possibly, especially if they are struggling with their eating habits too.

But as you dial in to “BODY” and listen to it more and more, the quieter all those other communicators will get.

Sorry “TONGUE” you don’t have a say anymore.

That’s not to say you can’t enjoy the taste of food, you are simply dialed in to a different “boss” to tell you when to stop.

As you eat, only when you feel hunger, and allow your body to be boss of when to stop, you won’t feel deprived, you won’t feel confused, you won’t feel bloated and you won’t feel guilty. You will feel light, happy and in charge of yourself.

Who doesn’t want that?

So next time you eat... remember who’s boss.


Running Tricks

Running is a very mental game. You start running and right away we often want to stop. Here are a couple tricks to make sure you don't fall victim to the jerky voice in the back of your head telling you to stop.

1. Decide before you start how far you are going.

2. When you feel like you want to stop, increase your speed. This can actually give you an energy boost and cause you to catch your second wind.

3. Set time goals to keep you motivated. Running the same distance and the same speed every time you run gets very monotonous. Change it up to keep it interesting. It's a lot more fun.

Just because you have never been a "runner" does not mean you can't be or aren't one. We can all be runners.

I have always considered myself a "swimmer". When I won a small 5k a few months back I was talking to a few of the other women who ran with us. They were congratulating me and telling me I was a great runner. I told them I'm not really a runner. They were marathoners and ultra-marathoners and when I told them I wasn't a runner they told me it was time to rethink what I was saying.

So I thought about it. What makes someone a runner? Well, I suppose it's if they run. You don't have to be winning races to be a runner. Once I realized that, I was a little less intimidated to commit to running and be in running races.

All the ways you have defined yourself in the past are out the window. You can be whatever you want and if being a runner is one of those things then take it!


Living Life Offensively

It occurred to me yesterday that life is sort of like a game only we can choose if we want to play offense or defense. It has been my tendency in the past to play a lot of defense, to try to keep things from happening to me, to prevent the bad as much as I can. But yesterday I realized that as long as I am playing defense I can't score. And scoring is the only way to win the game.

Switching from defense to offense means now I move forward with
purpose. I'm not trying to keep something from happening, I'm trying to make sure something happens.

Now I'm in control of the game.

Switching mentally from defense to offense gives you power. You're not a victim in your life, to your weight, to your current physical or mental state. You have what it takes inside of you to "score", all you have to do is move with purpose. Don't wait for something to happen or change...make it happen.

You make the changes.

**Make just one change today.**


3 Keys--You Gotta Have 'Em

When trying to figure out an effective exercise plan there are really 3 things to keep in mind to help you be successful:

1. Consistency.

Obviously, if you are on RaceDay, this is something we push a lot. Right away I encourage you to go for Consistency Club, which is 30 minutes of exercise for 30 consecutive days. This helps you to build the habit of getting your body moving for at least a little bit every day. There are a lot of things gained through consistent efforts, but with exercising perhaps the best part of all is becoming more in tune with your body. You learn how you can handle certain exercises/workouts and figure out different things about yourself. Mentally and physically. This can only come through consistent efforts.

2. Intensity.

Again, something we really push on RaceDay. Intensity is about 95% of your results in an effective exercise program. You can spend 2 hours "exercising" every day, but if you aren't pushing your intensity levels way up you will never see results. Limits have to be pushed. Intensity has to be high at least several times a week. Intensity matters more than time. You can work out for 20 minutes at a very high intensity and have a more effective workout than someone walking or jogging on a treadmill for an hour. It's all about how you spend that time. Intensity makes the time count.

3. Variety.

A lot of people don't know how to change up their workout programs. They get stuck in ruts or feel comfortable doing what they are doing so they don't ever change. I talk to women all the time who do the same thing day after day and don't understand why they aren't seeing results. The reason why is your body adapts very quickly to things you do over an over again. It's the way we are designed. So if you don't do different exercises you will plateau. The time you put in will be ineffective, you'll get frustrated, and more than likely, you'll get very bored. Don't be afraid to try new things. Keep it fresh and challenge yourself. Trust me, you'll not only be a lot more successful, but a lot happier too.


The 5-A-Day for 5 Days Challenge

How often do we hear it?

Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables EVERY day.

How many of us really do it? I mean consistently, every day?

How many of us think we do it, but don't. I'd venture to guess a lot.

Fruits and vegetables are key to weight loss and general good health.

Everyone wants a miracle pill, a diet "secret" or some other new weight loss "trick."

There are no tricks! (I want to yell that from a rooftop somewhere) There are, however, fruits and vegetables that have been here for us from the beginning of time. You can look high and low and bounce around from one fad diet to the next, but the reality will never change. Healthy, natural foods are what get you healthy and keep you healthy.

It's that simple.

There are properties in these foods that scientists simply can't uncover and can't recreate.

So here's the challenge. It's a short challenge because I want as many people as possible to do it ALL the way and notice the difference they feel.

For the next 5 days eat at least 2 servings* of fruit and 3 servings* of vegetables.

Breakfast: fruit

Morning snack: fruit

Lunch: vegetable

Afternoon snack: vegetable

Dinner: vegetable

Eat your fruit or vegetable first, before you eat anything else. Then eat the rest of your meal ONLY until you no longer feel hungry. Then stop.

It's only 5 days.

Can you do it?

Click HERE for a personalized food guide pyramid.

*Click HERE for a serving size reference guide.


Do What You Want

So it occurred to me a little bit ago that life is too short to do the things I don't want to do. From now on I will only do the things I want to do.

That can be a misleading statement. It doesn't mean I am going to sit on my couch and eat ice cream all day. While we all might joke about things like that being what we want, it's not really what any of us want. What we really want is the outcome of our actions.

Sometimes the things we want to do can get confused with things we don't want to do simply because they are hard. Let me explain a little better.

When I am pushing myself through a workout and it's hard and that thought comes into my head, " I don't want to do this. It's hard." I have to stop and ask myself this question: "Then WHY are you doing it?"

I usually have some pretty good answers for why:

  • I want to be healthy.
  • I want to be able to play/hike/run/bike with my kids and husband.
  • I want to be and stay fully functional as I age.
  • I want to look good.
  • I want to feel good.
  • I want to enjoy my body, not hate it.
  • I want to appreciate what I've got and do my best to improve on it.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

When I start thinking about all the reasons why I actually do want to do it I approach my workout with a completely different feeling and mentality.

Likewise, it has been good for me to ask this question in a lot of areas because there really are things I don't want to do and I have eliminated them.

As you go through your workouts and your life if you find yourself dreading something, or just simply not wanting to do it, ask yourself: "Why am I doing this?" If you have good reasons then focus on those and do it. If you don't have any good reasons, drop it out of your life.

As we do the things we want, and recognize that's what we're doing, our life will be happier and better all around.

Know what you want, then...

Do what you want.


Emotional Energy: You're In Control

Let's break things down really simply here. Basically we have two kinds of energy: physical energy and emotional energy. Everything we do requires some of both. However, it is the emotional energy, not the physical, that dictates our success or failure in everything. And the great news is, we can completely control our emotional energy-if we want to.

Think about something you don't want to do. Something you have been putting off for awhile now. (You know what I'm talking about). Every day that goes by without addressing it, your emotional energy is being taxed by it. A lot. Even if it is something small. How many things are you putting off like that? Every single one of them dips their greedy little hand into your emotional energy pot and grabs a handful. This can leave you feeling tired, depressed, frustrated or angry before you've even lifted a finger! So how can you have energy to exercise when you feel like that?

Now think, how much physical and emotional energy would it really take to address the thing/or things you've been putting off? In our heads we always think it's a lot, but I'd venture to guess it's not near as much as it's taking from you now.

Your emotional energy is a precious commodity that needs to be saved for family, friends and yourself. What you'll realize is that addressing the things you've been putting off won't take energy away from you...but rather it will infuse you with more.

Don't believe me?

Try it.


Be Aware Of....

I suppose I should warn you about something. Something I wish I had been warned about before I started racing. I think there is actually a technical name for it out in the racing world, something like "The Post-Race Blues" and it is a very real thing.

It's so weird. You train for months and months to achieve this incredible goal. Sometimes you dread it. Sometimes you love it. Sometimes you just do it to get to that end goal. Race day comes and it's incredible. The energy in the air and the excitement and anticipation all combine to make you feel like you want to pop. You've been waiting for this day! You race. You cross the finish line. You feel awesome....and then, wait, what's that you're feeling? Kinda crappy. Is it depressed? Is it lost? Whatever it is, it's not a good feeling.

So what happened? Well, what happened is totally normal and expected. You've worked really hard for something. It's been built up for a long time and you've accomplished it so naturally you feel a little lost without this goal you've had your sites set on for so long. That's okay. It's normal, even among the top athletes of this world. Even among non-athletes--anyone who has accomplished any great feat feels this drop. All you need to know is that it's very likely coming and you'll need to face it.

So how do you face it? With a plan of course. Just knowing that it might come is very helpful. That way you won't feel bad or worried that something is wrong with you. But going one step further and having a post race plan is even better. Humans do better with purpose. What do you want to accomplish next? Have a list of things you want to do, they don't even have to be race related, and when your race is over set about accomplishing the next thing on your list.

Then remember, the joy really is in the journey so enjoy every step.


Attack It!

I have had several people tell me that they often put off their workouts and try to get other things done because they sort of dread it. They are always glad once they have done the workout, but they allow it to loom over them for some time before getting to it.

Those of you who do, or have done, this, let me give you a word of advice:

Whenever you have this feeling come over you...a dread of the upcoming workout, a tendency to put it off, DON'T. (profound, huh?) Any time you can feel yourself doing this ATTACK YOUR WORKOUT. Get angry at those feelings. Don't let them have power over you.

Hit your workout so hard that those feelings know they have no place in you. Let it be a motivating factor for you. As soon as feelings of nervousness or dread come into you when thinking about your workout, do not put off your workout--face it head on as soon as you can. Drive those feelings out by pushing through your workout.

Pretty soon you will have retrained your brain and body that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. (thank you JFK :) ).

Attack your workout---you're sure to win.


Who Needs Self-Control?

I've been thinking about this post for a while. It's a pretty important one so I want to make sure I say it right. I want to make sure you understand what I'm saying. Unfortunately I know only some of you will get this because you do need to be at a certain place in the process to grasp this concept. To those of you who are not quite ready to understand...hopefully this will plant a seed for you and later you can come back and read this again. But to those of you out there who are ready for this, here it goes.

Eating right, living a healthy life, exercising daily, all of these things are not about will power or self-control. Let me say it again: these things do not require will power or self-control.

Did I just blow your mind?

Let me explain.

We always look at people who are thin or who eat healthy and exercise and think, "Wow, now there is someone with a lot of will power." If you see someone turn down cake at a birthday party you probably think, "Look at that self control, I wish I had that much self control." We think that to be healthy we have to be constantly "battling" with ourselves. In fact, I think that is a word many of you use to refer to you relationship with eating and exercise-"it's a battle." Well it's time to lay down your weapons. It doesn't have to be a battle.

Don't get me wrong, it CAN be a battle and when you are trying to do it all with will power and self-control it will be. But the sooner you realize that's not what it's about, the more likely you will be to have a lifetime of success.

So if it's not about will power or self-control what is it about? The answer is simple. It's about wanting something else more.

That's it? you're thinking. Don't toss the answer aside too quickly. Think about it.

If someone hands you a plate of brownies and you smell them and think, "Oh man, I want to eat this whole plate of brownies sooooo bad." And in your mind eating those brownies is what you want most but you're going to white knuckle it, try to exercise some "self-control" and say no. What just happened to you inside? Most likely you feel jerked around. You feel cheated. You feel like you don't get to have what you want and it's not fair. You can only last so long before you break when that is how you are living. It's a rough way to live.

If, however, you have a goal...even better, a specific goal...when you are faced with choices your experience will be completely different.

Let's say someone brings you that same plate of brownies and while they may smell good, if you want something more than satisfying your immediate appetite you will actually be more satisfied in the end. If you can think past the moment to your higher goals then you will remember that it's actually not brownies you want...it's something else-something more. And you can choose accordingly. So then what just happened inside you? You feel calm. You feel in control. You feel like you got to choose exactly what you wanted, because you did. It was a choice. It always is.

Does this mean you won't ever feel tempted? Of course not. Temptations will most certainly arise, but when you know what you want, what you really want, you are armed with the right frame of mind to ward them off.

Do you see what it's about? Living a healthy life is a state of mind. It's about how you face the choices, how you view the choices. Because how you feel when you choose makes all the difference in the world.

It's not about self-control; it's about knowing what you really want.

So what do you really want?


No Sugar Baby--Review

Those of you that did the No Sugar Baby Challenge, and did it completely, congrats!!! It wasn't easy.

What I hope you used this time for is as an evaluation period. To truly be able to evaluate something objectively you need to remove yourself from it, or remove it from you, as the case may be. To be able to evaluate just how much sugar is readily available and offered to you and your family on a daily basis you have to be in a state of mind where you are aware of it and are turning it away. Turning it away makes you acutely more aware--am I right? :)

I hope you have or will ask yourself questions like: How much sugar do I feel is okay in my life and the life of my kids? Why do I feel like I need sweets/treats? When do I feel like having sweets adds to my life and when does it take away? Etc.

There are definitely times and places where sweets and treats are okay and can enrich your life or your experience, but if food is the main source of enrichment in your life then something is off. You need to attack the underlying problem. It's not that you're addicted to sweets, it's something else you are trying to substitute sweets for. I know they taste good and you think that's why you're going back for more, but it's not. There is something else going on and if you'll stop for 2 seconds to try to evaluate why you're doing that and what you're feeling just below the surface, you may find some answers. And when you find the answer you can solve it with what it needs to be solved--and it's not donuts. :)

Another thing to note in this crazy society of ours is that you are almost looked down on or ridiculed if you do turn down sweets. "Oh, are you on a diet?" "Look at you, why aren't you eating?!" And on and on. People try to make you feel bad if you aren't shoving your face full of the junk they are. Just because sweets are there DOES NOT mean you have to eat them. It should be a choice, an active choice, every time. Not an obligation. Not a reflex. Not a reaction. A choice--yes or no. And then feel confident with your choice and nobody will question you, including yourself.

Having been removed from sweets for 30 days write down different thoughts and feelings you had. Set terms and guidelines for how you want to handle sweets and sugar in your life. Do you feel like making cookies once a week is something that will add to your life or take away? Do you just want to have sweets at celebrations or only at certain celebrations? Once you set some guidelines for yourself you won't have to re-decide every time you go somewhere.

Decide how to take care of your body and good health will follow.


Eating is a 3-Part Equation

If I could have a quarter for every time people have said to me, "I'm watching what I eat, so I don't understand why I'm gaining weight," I would truly be a millionaire.

What most people don't understand is that eating a a 3-part equation. It's not just what you eat, but also when and how much. The calories in/calories out equation is true, but how you burn those calories is affected by all 3 parts of this equation.

WHAT TO EAT: Obviously you want to eat healthier foods. We all know the kinds of foods we should eat. Lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, things that are actually food. What you don't want to eat are things that are "food products" like pop tarts and toaster scramblers. They aren't food but rather scientific creations. No thanks.

WHEN TO EAT: If you've been on RaceDay for very long you know the answer to this question. You eat only when you FEEL hungry. That tummy better let you know and not your brain looking at the clock and thinking "Oh it's time to eat." It's never time to eat unless your body tells you so. I do realize this is harder with kids because you've got lunch times and what not, but once you figure out how to eat right you can time this to be right on schedule with them. Don't be eating because you don't want to "waste" food, or because it's there, or because it looks good, or because you're bored. Only eat when you feel hungry. That's it.

HOW MUCH TO EAT: Portion sizes have been highly distorted in this country of ours. We have fast food restaurants trying to make us feel like we have to super size everything to get a good value. Even stores like Costco are distorting our perceptions of how much is enough. There is only one meter that can truly tell us how much is the right amount for us and for our activity level for the day and that is our own body. How much should you eat? Only until you no longer feel hungry. This means that some days you may eat 2 sandwiches at lunch and other days you may only eat 1/2 a sandwich. Our activity levels, hormone levels, stress levels, etc. all play a part in the equation of how much we need and our body can tell us. If you have in your mind how much you should eat, you may very well over eat or under eat. You have to listen to what you body says. (not your tongue--your body)

If you can get this 3-part equation down--what, when and how much--you are well on your way to establishing healthy eating habits for life.


After Dinner Plans?

Do you ever get stuck in the mode where you are just eating because you're just....well, just because? You finish your meal and you're no longer hungry, but you just feel like you want to keep eating for some reason? Sometimes it's hard to pull yourself out of this place and it's where a lot of overeating happens.

One of the best ways to get past this is to have plans for after dinner, or whatever meal it is. Have a plan to read a book, start a project, clean a closet, visit a friend, go for a walk, check your email, etc. immediately following your meal. Have it be something you are looking forward to. Once you can pull yourself away from the table and get lost in your "plans" your peckishness will go away--and you'll get a lot of stuff done!

So when you make your meal plans include your after meal plans too.

It works wonders!


Ebb and Flow

So there is something you should know.

Exercise, well actually the excitement to exercise, sort of ebbs and flows....for everyone. Yes, that means me too. (gasp!)

When you are flowing it's great. You look forward to running or biking or lifting or whatever, you like to sweat, the idea of a challenge gets your heart pumping and you want to take it on.

Other times, you think,"Eh, I don't really care," and you convince yourself that you aren't really interested in being thatphysically fit, or you're fine where you're at, or sometimes you just plain don't feel like it anymore. (beware of that voice--we've talked about it before).

So what do you do when you're ebbing instead of flowing?

You find a way to keep flowing. That's what.

When you're feeling tired or frustrated with where you are at and you just want to throw your hands up in the air and quit, RESIST that temptation. Quitting never got anybody anywhere and you know you will just feel worse if you quit. Push through to the other side because the other side will come and you'll feel much better that you didn't waste so much time sliding backwards during the time you didn't "feel" like it.

So here are a few ideas of how to keep things flowing:

1. Find a race or goal that makes your heart pound and go for it. The first time I thought about doing a triathlon it made my heart race just thinking about it. I was scared and I knew that meant I should try it. I felt the same way about Ragnar Relay. The unknown is scary, but can also be exciting. When we have a goal like that it can really keep you going. Don't let the fear of failure or the unknown stop you from your next adventure. And don't let your next adventure be overcome by apathy. Lame.

2. Use your fitness. Be more active in your every day life as you clean or play with your kids or run errands or whatever. It makes life more enjoyable and then it helps you to realize that you want to be more fit for daily living. Life is fuller when it's lived off the couch! :)

3. Have fun! If you are feeling burned out at all, then at least once a week do something that you really enjoy physically. For me I love to play racquetball or tennis. I'm playing and I love that, but I'm also getting in a good workout. What do you like to do that is fun and physically challenging?

4. Get a new workout mix. Sometimes just getting new music on your iPod can help spice things up a bit. Long runs or bike rides can be such a great time to refresh your body and mind and there's nothing like a great workout mix to lift you up.

5. Take a couple days off. If you are really struggling then take a few days off. I know that may freak some of you out, but it is okay to give your body a rest now and again. Just do it with a plan. Don't say, "I'm going to take a couple days off." instead say, "I will take tuesday and wednesday off and start again on thursday." That way you know exactly when you are starting again and you won't be "taking a couple days off" for an undetermined amount of time. You have a definite plan. (this should only be an option every 3-6 months or so)

Just know that when you feel like you don't want to exercise or you want to quit, that is normal. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, feels that from time to time (some more than others. :) ) What makes a successfully fit person different from someone that keeps struggling is that they figure out a way to keep flowing. They address the mental and emotional challenges as well as the physical ones.

So when (not if, but when) you feel yourself ebbing instead of flowing try some of the above strategies or come up with your own. You know yourself and what will work for you. With just a little thought you can work your way out of a negative zone. Just don't give yourself over to the apathy because that will never make you happy.

Keep flowing everyone!