Running Uphill is Always Easier

Aside

 

Overlooking Phoenix at the top of Camel Back Mountain.

Overlooking Phoenix at the top of Camel Back Mountain.

Overlooking the San Tan Mountains

Overlooking the San Tan Mountains

A good friend of mine once inquired about a run I had taken that he was attempting to trek.  The run was nothing major.  A simple 3 miler around a neighborhood.  The distance though was not the issue, the course neither.  The fact of the matter was, we were in a really hilly part of Pennsylvania and this particular route had major hills.  Now forgive me, I’m born and raised in Michigan and currently reside in Miami.  I am certain that these hills were child’s play.  Baby stuff.  But, this story has a point and a purpose, so bear with me.

So as I said, he inquired about the route asking “How are the hills?”

To which I responded “The going up isn’t hard, it’s the way down.”  He looked at me puzzled.  A sort of confusion on his face.

“Up?  That was the easy part?”  He questioned.

I shrugged and assured him that yes.  Going up was much easier than coming down those hills.

This story came back into my heart after a weekend get-away to Arizona to visit my father.  I got this bold and brave idea to hike Camel Back Mountain.  Yes, the idea was to HIKE the mountain.  Little did my eccentric mind realize that hiking was the last thing I would do.  Scaling large boulders and rocks.  Pulling my body weight over steep cliffs and fearing the drop of death below me was more or less what I did.  (Do I sound dramatic enough?!?!)

Anyway, this conversation I had with my friend entered my thought process that day. I may be alone in the world in this thought, but I stand by it. Going uphill is easier than going down. Climbing towards your goals, however difficult they may be, is much more exciting than falling from the summit. I hate falling down. I hate feeling defeated. I stand by my notion that, although it takes longer and it may be more strenuous, going up a mountain is always easier than coming down. I’m always striving to race up that mountain (insert metaphor here…). To better myself. To feel triumphant. That is far better of a feeling than falling down.

Proud daddy/daughter moment!  The top of Camel Back Mountain!

Proud daddy/daughter moment! The top of Camel Back Mountain!

So, yes, maybe it is silly to think that running uphill is easier, but the feeling of falling down is the hardest part in life. I’d rather continue to push up that mountain any day.

And with that, I say…

Oh, yeah, I JUST CLIMBED THAT! :)

Oh, yeah, I JUST CLIMBED THAT! 🙂

Climb On, my friends! 🙂

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Watermelon Jalapeño Margaritas

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A perfect match for summer In honor of Cinci de Mayo I was craving a margarita ALL day (and tostadas, duh)!  I didn’t want just any margarita, though.  No. I wanted something special.  Something fresh and light.  That’s when it hit me!  Watermelon!!!  But I didn’t stop there.  Oh no I didn’t.  That’s when my imagination went soaring.  And thus I began researching how to make the PERFECT watermelon jalapeño mararita.  The recipe below is my spin on it.  Enjoy and margarita on!

 

Watermelon Jalapeno Margarita

Time: 10 minutes

Servings: Four 8 oz Margaritas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 jalepeno, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 4 shots of tequila (I used Jose Cuervo)
  • ice

Place watermelon, half of the jalapeño, the juice of one lime, and the agave nectar in a blender and blend to a juice.  Muddle the other half of jalapeño in a shaker and add 1 shot of tequila with 1/4 of the blended juice. Shake. Pour into glasses rimmed with your choice:  salt, sugar, or like I did…chili powder!  Prep yourself to become addicted!!!

The Traffic Lights of Eating

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Here’s a new concept. And, no, I can’t take credit for it. Chalene Johnson gets it all! But, it may be a different way of looking at food for you. We are going to pledge right now to stop categorizing food as “good” and “bad.” Instead I want you to think about foods as traffic lights. I know you know the reference!  Green means GO, yellow means SLOW, and red makes you think quick and STOP!

Consider this: You can have whatever foods you like, but first you must classify them. Before you take a bite decide if it is a “green” light (ALWAYS A GO-like dark colored fruits and veggies, egg whites, green tea, salsa and avocado, lean white meats/fish), a “yellow” light (not horrible for you, but shouldn’t be overdone-like baked fries, baked chips, wine, low calorie beer, thin crust veggie pizza, pretzels, sushi, or lean red meats), or a “red” light (once in a while yummy treat-like onion rings, nachos, cookies, soda/pop, fast food). Utilizing this mind set will help you to have a better relationship with food. Many times our relationship with food becomes a love/hate thing. It SHOULDN’T be that way!!! You eat to fuel yourself, but you also eat to enjoy yourself! So its okay to acknowledge that!

Try this…contemplate your breakfast, lunch, and dinner from yesterday and decide which “lights” they would be under. You need to strive to be in the green and yellow zones and only hit the red light when you really want to! Did you fall into mostly green? What could you change to improve your traffic lights?

traffic light green

Let’s stop and look specifically at GREEN LIGHT FOODS. So what exactly are “Green Light” foods?

Green light foods are the types of foods that provide you with the most nutrition possible. These are your “I should ALWAYS be eating this” type of food. These are the foods that will help you perform at your best and help you stay healthy. The best part about traffic light foods, is that you will create the list yourself. Your list may look a bit different from my list.  THAT’S OK!!!  We don’t all eat the same types of foods or have the same favorites, but if you look at a type of food and think that it is CLEARLY good for you, then it definitely goes in the Green Light list. Here are some examples of Green Light foods that are on my list:

 

  • Shakeology
  • dark, colorful vegetables
  • avocado
  • salsa/pico de gayo
  • all fruits
  • water
  • vinegar
  • ground turkey
  • chicken breast
  • shrimp
  • hummus
  • string cheese
  • almond/soy milk
  • tea (especially green)
  • sweet potatoes
  • eggs
  • oatmeal


The list can go on, but these are the typical green light foods that I eat frequently. Go ahead and try to make your list. The fun part is that it is personal to you. Don’t put a food item down that you don’t really eat. And be honest about the foods you DO eat. Also, you may disagree with some of my green lights. That’s okay! It’s my list, not yours!

If your green light list isn’t very long, find ways to stretch it. Consider exploring new food choices.

heart apple

Now let’s talk about YELLOW LIGHT FOODS!  The yellow group is food that is not horrible for you, but that you wouldn’t label as the healthiest possible choice. These foods don’t bring a whole lot of nutritional value to your diet, but they aren’t the worst thing you could be putting into your body. Here’s a list of my “Yellow Foods”

 

  • whole grains (such as breads, pastas, rice, and tortillas)
  • low fat dressing
  • sushi
  • tuna salad
  • pretzels (or other low fat salty snacks)
  • wine/lite beer
  • veggie pizza
  • sugar free/fat free processed foods
  • low sugar/low sodium/low fat sauces and marinades
  • cheeses
  • deli meats
  • coffee and creamer


Again, my list may be different from yours. Try to brainstorm the foods you eat regularly and place them accordingly! Chances are, if you don’t place them in either the green or the yellow groups…you know exactly where they are going. 🙂

Chocolate after my meal, salty chips, nachos at a basketball game, fast food French fries, warm soft baked cookies…these are a few of my guilty pleasures. And I’m not ashamed! Everyone craves different foods at different moments and for different reasons.

Put the candy DOWN!!! :)

Put the candy DOWN!!! 🙂

 

After making green and yellow light food lists, now is your chance to be honest about your guilty food pleasures. Write down all those yummy treats and acknowledge what you tend to crave. This is going to be helpful for you.  Now that you have acknowledged your desire for certain foods, you’ve also labeled them with a red light (which means STOP).  You are training your mind to hesitate and THINK before you mindlessly put that cupcake in your mouth.  Sure it tastes good, but how many red light foods have you eaten throughout the day?  Would it be wise to wait and treat yourself to that cupcake at a later moment?  These are now going to be part of your thought process.

Keep traffic light foods on your mind all the time and you won't go wrong!

Keep traffic light foods on your mind all the time and you won’t go wrong!

Practicing healthy eating means placing value on the thought process behind eating.  Try not to eat when you are watching TV or engaged in other activities.  Before you just grab the treat in the break room at work, think about whether that moment of enjoyment is worth it in relationship to your goals.  If it is, GO FOR IT!  If not, you know what to do! 🙂

 

Eat On, my friends!!!