Staying Motivated in Freezing Weather

We’re in the middle of a freezing cold streak here in Jersey. That, on top of having absolutely nothing to train for, has left me pretty uninspired when it comes to running. Waking up at 6:30 and seeing that it’s 20 degrees out is pretty unappealing. This weekend, I’ll be out in PA, where it will be even COLDER. I was hoping I’d be able to get a trail run in, but I don’t think it’ll happen if the temperature doesn’t break 20.

I was getting back into a decent rhythm last week, but this chill really has me bummed. Winter definitely doesn’t want to leave going unnoticed this year. It’s been pretty mild this year, other than that whole record breaking blizzard thing, and I’ve been getting out there more than I usually do over the Winter. I’m kind of a wuss, so getting me out in the cold is tough. And even when I do get out there, I can usually only stand 3-4 miles.

Winter is definitely the toughest time of the year for me when it comes to running. It’s dark earlier, gets light out later, I’m less motivated, and it’s COLD. I also have less energy than normal, probably because I’m not out in the sun and all I want to do it crawl into a ball under a blanket.

But I try to remember what it feels like once I get outside and start. The chill is really refreshing, and I always feel more accomplished after a cold morning run than after any other type of run. It’s really a beautiful time of year for running. The air feels fresh and clean, and there are way less people out and about.

When I wake up at 6:30 and it’s warm under the covers and I’m comfy in bed, I remember how I feel after a brisk morning run and that’s motivation enough to get myself out of bed–well–about 1/3 of the time, anyway!

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Making Time For Our Health

Busy, busy, busy….everyone is just so busy! 

I genuinely believe in the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet. But, lately, I’ve been seriously letting myself slip. On any given day, I have several projects to work on, errands, work, school, exercise, friends–the list seriously never ends. I’ll be the first to admit–when life gets in the way, it genuinely becomes difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. After all, eating healthy requires planning meals ahead of time, shopping every few days, prepping ingredients, cooking, cleaning up after yourself. These tasks start to become arduous when they get in the way of your productivity. When you are tired and hungry it becomes SO tempting to pop a processed meal into the oven or microwave and in five minutes, voila, dinner!

You are tired and still have 5 hours left of work to do before you can go to sleep, so you grab a soda or a latte or an energy drink to keep yourself awake. You’re up until 2 am so snacking starts to seem genuinely innocent. You don’t have anything in the fridge so all of a sudden you start letting yourself eat foods with ingredients like yellow #5, high fructose corn syrup, and maltodextrin. You don’t know what these are, but you know they aren’t found in nature and you don’t have the time or energy to care. You start to feel an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and your skin is dull and your nails are flaky and weak. You are too lethargic to exercise. Your weight slowly starts creeping up on you…so slowly that you don’t even realize it. All of a sudden, even your “fat” pants are starting to feel tight. Sound familiar?

Well, it sure does to me. I’ve been eating j-u-n-k lately and I’m not okay with it. Even that seemingly harmless can of lentil soup has 600 mg of sodium (per serving!!) in it. For someone who advocates health, for someone who aspires to bring healthy fresh foods to families living in food deserts, for someone who believes so strongly in the benefits of a plant-based diet, I’ve been seriously slacking.  

My first back on track meal comes courtesy of Kid Tested Firefighter Approved–cute name, amazing plant-based recipes! Tonight, I made Portobello Mushroom Pizzas and boy were they delicious. The only thing I changed was that I used artichokes instead of olives because olives have a lot of sodium and fat. Also, I didn’t have time to soak cashews overnight so I boiled water, turned off the heat, and let the cashews sit in the hot water for 45 minutes while I prepped the ingredients (when time is of the essence–get a little creative!) Also, the recipe is for 3 servings so I only used 1/3 of each ingredient. 

MmmMmmm good!

All in all, the meal took me about 1 1/2 hours to make. Yes, that’s a bit long on a normal day for me, but I think the important thing is to plan meals out ahead of time. Make use of that Google Calendar and start planning out your meals a week ahead of time. Then, when you have a less hectic day, you can prep a few things for the week! Since I had some time tonight, I made a delicious Chickpea Ratatouille that will be my lunch tomorrow and worked on a few blog related things while I let it bake. 

So let’s get back on track! Planning is key–set out your meal plan at least a few days ahead of time and soon you’ll find yourself able to better prioritize your health. Let’s give it a shot!