Staying Healthy on the Inside This Holiday Season

Happy Monday, friends! Can you believe we’re starting the last full week of October?!? The holidays are official upon us–there is no denying it now.

There is a lot of focus put on staying healthy during the holidays: emphasis on finding your fitness pattern, which appetizers have the least calories, how to make Thanksgiving dinner more healthy…but today I want to talk about the other healthy. You know, that one that goes straight out the window the minute you start thinking about all those weekend plans, school vacations, and visiting family. The healthy on the inside.

I can feel my mental health fraying at the edges the minute I start thinking about the holidays. Lets be honest: the “most wonderful time of the year” is full of stressful events. I don’t have much advice on how to avoid them, but I do have some tips on how to handle them a little better. Here is what I’m doing this year to keep the stress in check:

I’ll be so relaxed even this won’t rattle me!
  • I’m staying off Facebook. This was a rule I implemented several weeks ago when the chatter about the election just got to be too much. I set alerts to tell me when important people post things, or when someone posts in a group I need to pay attention to (like one of my homeschool groups or my virtual bookclub). If I don’t get those notifications, I ignore it all together. No mom-guilt over other people’s perfectly poised holiday photos, no seeing snarky comments from family members. And whole hours of my life back since I’m not scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.
  • We’re taking a day off on the weekends. My city is jam packed of amazing things to do in the fall and through the holidays. I could try and do everything, or…we could stay home and keep our sanity. I vote for keeping the sanity! Sunday afternoons (and sometimes the whole day!) have become “days off”: no grocery shopping, no laundry, not picking up clutter. Just books and games and hanging out. Does my house look a little rough Monday mornings? Sometimes. But I start the week rested and with a clear head.
  • I’m being choosy–and I’m choosing fun. When I asked my friends how they choose what to do during the holidays, someone mentioned that they ask their kids what they remember from the previous season. I thought this was a great idea. So this year, we’ll hit up the family favorites, and add one or two new events. And I’m cutting back and saying no to events and invites that we “should” enjoy–but don’t. We all have them in our life–and this season, they just aren’t going to make the cut.
  • I’m shopping online and I’m doing it early. I admit, I love to wander through the mall and look at the decorations and the hustle and bustle. I do not like standing in line with a whiny kid. Hello, online shopping. I’m in the process of making my list, checking it twice, and being done.
  • I’m asking for help. I read something in a magazine just this morning that really resonated with me: “asking for help doesn’t make you weak. It makes you an adult.” That is really true! As I work on my schedule for the week, month and season, I’m intentionally scheduling in help and time off: time for my son and husband to have boy time. Time to get a massage. Time for the grandparents to have a cookie-baking adventure with my son while my husband and I sneak away to find some mistletoe. Everyone deserves a break, especially around the holidays.

I’m already feeling better just thinking about it. I’d love to know: how are you going to keep healthy on the inside this holiday season? 




The Marathon Plan

I want to run a marathon.

To be honest, I want to run one marathon. And that’s it. I want to be able to say I did it. I want to know that I can train my body for that type of endurance. I also really, really feel like I need a long-term tangible goal to work towards. My husband thinks I’ve completely lost my mind–but I know that my running buddies out in the virtual world will completely understand.


My marathon plan is a very long-term plan. Right now, I would like to do a marathon as a 35th birthday present to myself. That gives me about 2 years to become 26.2 ready, depending on the marathon I choose. Right now, I’m leaning pretty heavily to the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2019. Being a runDisney regular takes a little fear out of the process–I will know what to expect pre-race, and lets be honest: running nearly 30 miles through Disney Parks will fun and entertaining.

Here is the lose timeline I have set up for myself.


Fall 2016-Spring 2017: Focus on the consistency of my workouts and my short term goals (hitting my weight/body fat goal, and focusing on 5Ks).

Summer & Fall 2017: Focus on working up to 10K distance and become comfortable with it.

Winter 2017-Early 2018: Train for and run 13.1

2018: Focus on maintaining and begin training for the full marathon.

January 2019: Run the WDW 26.2

Writing it all out like that makes it seem like a very, very long time away. But I’m okay with that. When I became a runner, I jumped right into half-marathons–I went from not even owning a pair of running shoes to running 13.1 miles in less than 7 months. I don’t recommend it. This time around, I’d like to hit the distances in order and be strong enough, mentally and physically, for the distance of a full marathon. I also want to have enough time to work towards a PR for my proof of time, instead of frantically finding a suitable race the weekend of the deadline and running it hopelessly untrained so as not to end up the last person starting the half marathon (this is an unfortunate true story).

So I’m putting out a call to all of you who have done this before: am I missing something? Is there something I should know before embarking on my 2-year plan? If you were only going to run ONE half marathon, which one would it be?





Why I’m Going to Work Out Like Its My Job

Fitness is not my job.

I’m not a model. I don’t get paid to post gym selfies or get sponsored by Nike, LuLuLemon or runDisney. I don’t make money off my blog. Working out is something I fit into my life, somewhere between motherhood, homeschooling, writing, and running my household.

So is it really a wonder that I’m not meeting my fitness goals?

I’ve been struggling for years to make working out and wellness a priority in my life, and I’m beginning to think that the core of the problem is that I consider it a dispensable part of day. And it shouldn’t be.

Being healthy shouldn’t be a negotiable part of my life. Sure, if I miss a workout or gain a few pounds, I’m not going to lose my job. But in the long term, I could lose so much more.

Maybe it sounds dramatic to think like that. But my family’s health history reads like the who’s who of illness: diabetes, depression & anxiety, food intolerances, multiple sclerosis. It was all sort of easy to ignore in my twenties–life was fast-paced and I still fit into the clothes I wore in college. Then sometime after my 30th birthday, my metabolism changed. Those huge Italian meals I ate a couple times a week started catching up with me. I got tired. I have all the resources to be healthy right in front of me. Clearly, my issue is mental.

And so starting today, I’m going to work out like its my job. Maybe I won’t be getting paid in money or sponsorships (although that would be  nice, right?), but that doesn’t mean I won’t get compensated. I’ll get paid in more energy, in a smaller pant size, in a happier disposition and less anxiety. I’ll get paid in more happy, functional years with my family.

And that will make me far more rich than any paycheck could.

Does working out fall to the bottom of your list? What keeps you from working out and achieving the healthy lifestyle you want?

This is Not a Race Calendar.

I was really pleased when I walked a 10k in July and had no pain from a foot injury I had a couple years ago–especially since I did the race completely cold with no training. While that isn’t what I suggest for anyone, it gave me hope that maybe I could start incorporating running back into my fitness routine.

The weather is cool in the morning and it is absolutely calling me to lace up my running shoes. This fall/winter are super busy for me, though, and I still have to be considerate of my injury flaring up…so this is not a race calendar. This is more of a race wish list–events I’d love to do if everything goes right.


Superheroes VS Villains 5k: My son is really excited about the idea of dressing up in a costume and running a race. Start them young, right?

Lanier Under the Lights 5k: I ran this race several years ago, and LOVED it–the nighttime course runs through a resort that has elaborate Christmas lights. Its beautiful!

Jeff Galloway Race weekend: I’m not really motivated to run a half marathon that isn’t at Disney (I’m spoiled) but I adore Jeff Galloway and his race weekend includes a 5K. The course is great and last year the shirt was super cute.


Jingle Bell Run: I haven’t run this one before, but it is a city run (I’m a little obsessed with our downtown area) and I like the idea of everyone running around with jingle bells tied to their shoes. Family friendly and holiday themed–who can argue with that?

Hot Chocolate 5k: Who doesn’t love chocolate fondue at the end of a race? Even though its always freezing at this race, it is always very organized and I definitely appreciate that in a race. And the hoodie it great!

What is on your race wish list this fall and winter? Any big races on the horizon?

The Power of Hair

Something weird is going on in my world, and I’m pretty sure my hair is to blame.

A few weeks ago, the natural part in my hair–the one that has been there for at least 20 years– inexplicably switched sides. Since then, things in my world have been in a total uproar. Job stress, insomnia, digestive issues, heightened anxiety–all sorts of ups and downs.

I jokingly posted on my Facebook page about it, and I was shocked to see how many women responded that the same thing had happened to them. Is this a thing? Does our hair have life-altering abilities?!?


After so many people commiserated with me, I did some digging. Apparently, there is much more to the hair/mind/body connection than I ever knew.

Ancient yogis believed that hair supports the creative life force, vitality and intuition. When you cut your hair, you lose this. It was believed that hair had antennas that took in energy and aimed it toward the frontal lobes of your brain, aiding in meditation and visualization.

Yogis weren’t the only people that believed hair had powers. Many ancient cultures believed that cutting an enemy’s hair made them weaker and more easily controlled. When Genghis Khan conquered China, he forced all the women to cut their hair short and get bangs–not as a fashion statement but because he believed it would make them weaker and easier to control.

Some mystics believe that hair has its own aura, with longer hair having a stronger aura. When hair is cut short, the aura diminishes. They also believe that hair is important because it covers the crown chakra, which they believe is something of a conduit to the Higher Power or Higher Self. The kinder you are to your hair, and the more you let it grow, the closer you get to the Higher Power.

So maybe I’m not crazy as I feel. Or maybe I’m even crazier than normal, I haven’t decided yet. It is a nice idea to think that taking some time to get a blow out or a deep conditioning treatment on my hair would not only feel good, but might help my life calm down a little, too.

What do you think of the hair/mind/body connection? Has anything like this ever happened to you? 


When Meal Plans go Awry

I’ve been very focused on meal planning the past couple of weeks. As summer winds down and things speed up, I knew I needed to be more organized with our meals: who needs a packed lunch, crockpot meals for super busy days, easy to pull together breakfasts. I’ve been really proud of myself–I’ve shopped and prepped and it’s been great.

Until today.

When I hit a wall.

It wasn’t that I was craving something unhealthy. It was just that I didn’t feel like eating what I had planned for today. What I had prepped and readied and prepared.


I ended up swinging through a grocery store and picking up one of their prepared meals. I don’t want to make that a habit, though, so I’m hoping you guys can give me some advice.

Do you meal plan? What do you do when you don’t feel like eating what you planned–swap nights, eat out, or do you have an emergency meal stashed somewhere? I need ideas!

How to be a Morning Person

Summer is coming to a close in my corner of the world. This week we have open houses for our homeschool co-ops, and then my little guy officially becomes a first grader. While our mornings are not nearly as hectic as some, we will have to shake off our summer schedule and start being a little more productive in the mornings. And I am NOT a morning person.

I’ve spent my whole life fighting my night owl tendencies. I’m more creative and focused at night, which means I’m groggy in the morning. Actually, if I go to bed at 8 PM and sleep for 12 hours, I’m still groggy in the mornings. Mornings and I just don’t mix.

My son is a morning person. He has been since his days in the belly. I could count on him to wake me up in the morning with his exuberant kicks more accurately than an alarm clock months before he arrived. This morning he woke me up at 5:20 AM.

 I sent him back to bed until 6:00 (which is the time he is allowed to get up) and he obediently trotted back to bed…where he sang “The Ballad of Casey Jones” until he got up. He is so happy and energetic in the mornings, but starts to fall apart after about 3:00. Which is when I really start to hit my groove. So, my habits need to change.

Here are some practices I’m putting into place this week to try and get up earlier and have better mornings.

  • Setting a consistent bedtime and wake up time. This one is hard for me, because I often get into a groove late at night. My goal this week is to be asleep between 10:30-11:00 PM and up between 6-7 AM.
  • Leaving my phone alone until 9 AM. I’m one of those people who likes to roll over first thing in them morning and check in with all my social media accounts and play a few games of Disney Emoji blitz, my current obsession. I realized recently this is a terrible way to start my day. I’m basically putting other people’s opinions and thoughts in my head before I’ve even had a chance to have one of my own.
  • Getting outside first thing. Even if it is just sitting on my porch and enjoying the fresh air.
  • Cleaning up the kitchen and living space before I go to bed. It’s so easy to leave dirty dishes in the sink and toys all over the floor before I crash at night (who wants to clean up when you’re exhausted from the day?) but it is so nice to wake up to a clean space. I love starting my day with a clean kitchen island. Does that make me weird?

I’m going to start with small changes and see how they go. I’d love to get up and peacefully write a chapter or two of the next great American novel, but I think these baby steps will work for now. 

Are you a morning person or a night person? Is your lifestyle/schedule conducive to what your body naturally wants to do?

A Confession and a List

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! I thought a lot about looking for my new “healthy” home over the three day weekend. But before I go into that…a confession.

Remember that race that I really wanted to do? The one I was talking myself out of?

Yeah, I did it.

I walked the 10K slow and steady, and loved every minute it. I’m feeling pretty good today–my injury stayed silent and the only discomfort I’m feeling is to be expected after walking 6.2 miles cold turkey. I’ll do a full race recap later this week.

Now, on to my list!

By some gift of the fitness gods, ClassPass is having a 50% sale for a 3-month membership. How is that for timing?!? So I’m going to sign up for a plan that gives me 5 classes a month. Here are the first classes I’m going to try:

TRX. I’ve done this before and loved the workout. I’ve had a hard time finding a class that JUST uses TRX, so I was excited to find one on the ClassPass list.

Rock Climbing. There’s a climbing gym that has always intrigued and slightly terrified me. Time to give it a shot.

Barre. I’ve done barre classes before, so I’m giving myself this one as something familiar while I’m trying out some new things.

Also on my agenda for this month:

Take advantage of my early-riser kiddo and go for a walk before it gets too hot.

Go to free yoga & fitness classes offered by retail/running stores in my area. 

Try to encourage some of my friends to join me so that I’m more likely to keep it up. 

How was your weekend? Did you take time off your workout & nutrition schedule or stick to it over the holiday?

Is There Life After Running? Finding a New Healthy Home.

If you’ve been following along on my journey for awhile, you know that I was a COMPLETELY non-athletic child, teenager and adult…until I got a wild hair in 2012 and signed up for a runDisney race. I then became hooked, and it was thrilling to enter a world of health and fitness that I previously didn’t even know existed. I was healthier than I’d ever been before, and it was great.

An injury in late 2014 caused me to stop running. I keep trying to run again…and the injury flares up. It’s so frustrating. My favorite race happens here in Atlanta on July 4th. It’s a 10K, and I didn’t sign up for the lottery back in March, because I knew it wouldn’t be good for me. But now I’m right on top of it, and I’m seeing all these people prepping for it…and I have to talk myself out of signing up at the last minute. Even though I know I’m not prepared in the slightest. Even though I know I could hurt myself.

(What in the heck is wrong with me?!?)

I’m struggling with finding where I fit in with fitness now that I’m a “recovering runner”. I miss the training plans and the excitement of race day. I miss the runners high. I miss the jeans I fit into 3 sizes ago.

I’m trying to find my new healthy home. Is it yoga? TRX? A barre studio? I don’t know. But I do know I’m tired of sitting on my tushie waiting for it to come to me. So I’ve decided that it’s time to try everything, even things I never thought about doing before–because, quite honestly, this time 10 years ago I NEVER, EVER thought I could love running like I do.

This weekend my goal is to list out all the fitness things I want to try, even if they scare me. I know my new favorite thing is out there.

What do you do when you want to switch out your fitness routine? What workout do you love that surprised you? 


No More Sneaky Sugars: Labels Get a Makeover

A couple weeks ago, the FDA announced that there would be some changes to the way they labeled food, and–to risk sounding like a nerd–I’m pretty excited about the changes. The three biggest changes, in my opinion, are:

  • The phrases “calories”, “serving size” and “servings per container” are going to be bigger and more prominent.
  • Vitamin D, iron, potassium and calcium will be included on the label in actual grams as well as the daily value percent.
  • Labels will include added sugars, in grams and daily percent values. I personally think this is the biggest deal–how many times have you picked up something, like fruit juice, and wondered how many grams of sugar was added and how many occurred naturally?

Manufacturers have until July of 2018 to make the changes. Here is a version of our current label and a label with the new changes.

Nutrition Facts
I like the look of the new label a lot, and even though we’re a couple years out from having them switched over, I think it will make a difference in the way people see the nutrients (and the additives) in their food.

There are also some changes being made to serving sizes, to make them more realistic and based on what people are actually eating.

Serving sizes
What do you think of the changes that are coming to food labels? Do you think they will make a difference in the way people eat and shop?