Posted in Body

I’ve Replaced Hate with Energy

A few days ago, I mentioned that I was ready to join the I-hate-running camp. During a five-mile run, my legs started out feeling empty and weak … then progressed to feeling like they were filled with concrete.

I wondered if it was because I had hardly eaten any fruits or vegetables for a few days. Yes, I think diet plays that big a part in how one feels. Call it busy, bad planning or just too freakin’ lazy to go grocery shopping … but there was no produce (fresh or frozen) in my house, so I wasn’t eating any.

Lemon Pepper Pasta and Asparagus ... click the pic for recipe

I remedied that by a trip to my local farm market and grocery store. I’ve been chopping, dicing, slicing and refueling … making colorful dishes like this one and snacking on apples, bananas or strawberries.

Two days after the I-hate-running run … I ran again. This time my legs didn’t feel like they were filled with lead. They felt normal. Though we’ve been hit with a blast of summer heat and humidity, I had energy for about seven miles. I know this doesn’t qualify as research or an approved study … but it works for me. It’s a Janet-thing.

Fruits and Vegetables = Energy!

Fruit and vegetables are full of minerals, proteins, fiber, complex carbs and many other important nutrients for increasing energy. (btw … in order for you to get energy from them you’ll want to eat them, not let them rot in your fridge drawer)

For energy … eat fruits and vegetables at least five times a day.

  • Breakfast: Have a banana or berries. (you don’t need me telling you how important breakfast is, do you?) Oatmeal, yogurt, smoothie, egg, whole grain bagel or bread … whatever it is you are having, add a banana or some berries. Or get creative and make scrambled eggs and/or an omelet with vegetables. .
  • Snacks: Do not have that donut or cookie, they are energy-stealers! Instead have an apple or orange. Have celery with peanut butter. Carrots, grape tomatoes or sliced peppers with hummus. Rice cakes with a little peanut butter and an sliced apple or banana. Healthy crackers with an all-vegetable salsa (read labels, some add sugar and crap)
  • Salads are energyfor lunch, dinner or snacks. Start with mixed greens, maybe a little cheese, some beans and seeds … then make it as colorful as possible with vegetables and even grapes, apples or pear slices.
  • Lunch/Dinner: Whatever you are making, make a side dish of vegetables also. Or add vegetables to the main dish. Diced onions, garlic and peppers sautéed in a little olive oil can be added to many dishes. (with kids, this can be tricky … but you’re smart, figure out how to get it pass them or make your food separate)

Do this and then you’ll be thanking me for all the energy you have.


What fruits or vegetables do you like? Do you have any snack ideas or recipes to share?

Posted in Sunday Saying

Sunday Sayings — Making Changes

This collection of sayings comes from being at Fitbloggin‘ last weekend. I keep thinking of the many amazing stories I heard. Stories of people choosing to make changes in their lives … and each doing it in a way that works for him/her.

One Step at a Timephoto © 2010 SEO | more info (via: Wylio)


If you want to make changes in your world … first know that:

In order for there to be change — there has to be realization.


A few years ago, as a chiropractor adjusted my back, he said,

“Adjusting your back will take time. Your body was used to doing life in a certain pattern and it won’t change overnight. Some of that is because your brain has been telling those muscles to do life that way for years. Each adjustment helps your brain realize that it should send different signals to those muscles because their pattern of behavior is changing.” Then he ended with, “In order for there to be change – there has to be realization.”

That’s as true for our habits as it is for our bodies. For realization we need to be brutally honest with ourselves about what will happen if we don’t make any changes.

Learn all you can about the changes you want to make … read, ask questions, seek advice, observe others. Then trust yourself to find a plan that works for you. Doing what everyone else is doing may or may not work for you. Lying to yourself to justify what you are or aren’t doing will not work either. The truth is you can change, but you have to be honest with yourself about what works and what doesn’t.

Change is not easy, but it’s worth it.


Don’t get discouraged … change takes time and often takes many restarts.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.”

- Walter Elliot


Have you made changes to your life? How?

Posted in Body

I Hate Running!

If all my runs were like my run this morning, I would quit running. Seriously, this morning I was ready to join the I-hate-running crowd. I was drawing up the T-shirt in my mind.

No runningphoto © 2009 Quinn Dombrowski | more info (via: Wylio)


Nothing hurt and I wasn’t out of breath … but I had no energy. Zip. Zitch. Nada!

I had enough of sleep and getting out of bed wasn’t too hard. (even at 5:15 freaking am) I met two running friends and we warmed up with a short walk, but soon after we started running my legs became quite  uncooperative.

My legs started by feeling empty and weak … then progressed to feeling like they were filled with concrete. I tired taking deep breaths, but there seemed to be filter between my lungs and my legs.

No oxygen/energy headed south.

We were doing my normal routine of running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute. Normally I can judge the 4 minutes fairly well and I usually don’t look at my watch until at least 3 minutes have passed … this morning I was looking at it 30 seconds after we started running feeling like it should be time to walk.

My running partners were chatting about this, that and the other thing. I joined them from time to time, but most of my energy went into trying to keep moving. I had visions of my recliner or better yet, a lounge chair on the beach!

As I tried to process why I had no energy … I began having visions of fruits and vegetables dancing in my head. A few days earlier, the supply of fresh fruit or vegetables in my house dwindled to nothing. I kept meaning to go grocery shopping, but I never actually went. I made meals with what I had … even using up all the frozen vegetables.

I realized that’s why I had no energy … I wasn’t eating major junk, but I had been living on protein and grains with no fresh fruits or vegetables for about two days.

FitBloggin Day 2 Final-85

Delicious Roasted Vegetables at Fitbloggin' 11 - Photo by

I thought about last weekend when I was at Fitbloggin’ and ate a lot of fruit and vegetables all weekend. I felt great during a run on Sunday morning with my roommate, even after being up late two nights in a row. Darn it … why had I come home and not continued eating that healthy?

With the encouragement of my running buddies, I managed to complete the five miles this morning, thought we did add some additional walking time.

I’m headed to the store NOW!!! And I will see if my Monday run goes better after eating some colorful vegetables and fruit this weekend. Maybe then I won’t hate running anymore or be tempted to quit running.

Whether you are a runner or not … do you notice how your diet affects your energy levels?

If you are a runner, has there been a run that’s tempted you to quit?

Posted in Thankful

Thankful Thursday — People, Swag and More

When I think back over the past week of what I’m thankful for, one word comes to mind …

Fitbloggin’ 11


Group photo (though some had already left) by the FitBloggin’ Photographer, Carrie D

I am thankful for all of it …

The top-notch people get to know many of them through their recaps here.

The swag (New Balance shoes, capris and head phones, Jillian Michaels new book, EatSmart bathroom scale, Larabar bars, iBeani, Attune products and so much more)

Informational workshops Learning about exercise included: HITT, doing a fast running workout also works the upper body, how my butt muscle is the most underused muscle (do they know how much I sit) Learning about blogging included: SEO, vlogging, anchor words, Google searches, Google analytics,  Google keywords (does Google own the world?)

Exercise — running, lower body workout, Zumba (After 15 minutes, this non-rhythmic-exMennonite -white-girl decided to watch this fast dance class instead)

The food. Usually I come home from conferences having eaten too much sugar, flour and junk … but not this time! Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and smoothies all weekend. Plus it was prepared and cleaned up for me!

The room. Along with it being a nice, swanky Marriott room, it was magically cleaned during the day. When, oh, when will that start happening at my house?

Along with being grateful for all the above, I’m thankful for the three things I learned at Fitbloggin’11.


And I guess I’m thankful the whole rapture saga is behind us, but it sure provided joke fodder. Did I think a ‘rapture’ would take place on Saturday (or will happen as people assume it will anytime) … not really. Though that group is now saying it will be in October, so round two in five months.

What are you thankful for today?

Three Things I Learned at Fitbloggin 2011

Fitbloggin 11 – One Cool Weekend


On their website, Fitbloggin is described as a conference for …

… anyone who blogs about fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle – regardless of where they are in their journey.  The goal of FitBloggin’ is to bring together the community of health-conscious bloggers for education, networking and friendship.

It was all that and more! The founder and organizer Roni Noone pulled together an amazing conference, even though she has a two-month old baby. I met so many snazzy, cool, generous people concerned about health and wellness. Starting with Annelies from Attune Foods — love her! Also had a great chat with Attune’s CEO Rob. It’s thanks to Attune’s generosity that I was at Fitbloggin!

Popchips (love this healthy snack) was doing a photo shoot. I was thrilled about it … can’t you tell?

Rooming with strangers is an unknown, but I now have two great new friends … Rosie from Sleeping Naked After 40 who says, “my desire is to love myself, to eat, live and be as real and authentic (hence naked) as I can.” And Julie from the Chubby Mommy Running Club. She says, “My mantra is Try, not cry! … because Just Do It! seems so demanding.”

I also met smart, techie, generous people that know a lot about blogging and have a way of explaining it so that I can understand it. Thanks Matt from No Meat Athlete and Scott from Scott Stawarz.

Top three things I learned from Fitbloggin

To never stop trying. My rough guesstimate is that about half of the people there have struggled with weight in their life. Some have lost 100 pounds or so over 10 years ago and kept it off. Others have lost large amounts of weight numerous times over and they are determined to keep trying until they succeed. Still others have just begun a journey towards a healthy life … and they have mega pounds to lose.

To work hard. Whether it’s changing from a non-healthy lifestyle to a healthy one … or taking a blog from ten readers to a thousand readers … hard work is required.

To trust myself. To be willing to share my story … in a way that is me. Not trying to copy this person or that person … but to be me. Authentic, true and real. (how’s that for redundant)


It was an excellent conference from start to finish … from the 5k on Friday to the 4-mile run on Sunday. From the absolutely delicious food (veges, veges and more veges) to the Starbucks coffee they served. From the speakers to the attendees to the conference workers and volunteers. I know I will be processing all I learned at Fitbloggin for some time into the future.

If you’ve gone to a conference that was about a subject matter that interests you … how do you retain the information and put it to use in your world?

UPDATE: Read recaps from other attendees at the Fibloggin site.

Posted in Thankful

Thankful Thursday – Post 26

I don’t dwell on the past … it’s gone and can’t be relived. But I am thankful for great memories and from time to time, I spend time reminiscing. Today, seven years ago … was the last full day I had without an injured body. It was a fun day in a string of almost-perfect days. (167 days to be exact) We were in California, 3,000 miles from our home in Pennsylvania on a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the country.

The Tonight Show - May 19, 2004

We wanted to do something ‘Hollywoodish’ while in that area. During the previous years I often ended my day with few laughs with Jay Leno. (before the Leno/Conan fiasco) So we went to a taping of The Tonight Show. Tickets were first-come first-serve, so we arrived early and were first in line. As the day progressed more people joined us. Personnel from the show made their appearance mid-afternoon and the process of going through security began. Then first-lady Laura Bush was Leno’s guest that day, so there were people with earpieces all around.

I was surprised how many people were involved in taping the show. People were all over the stage, but when the countdown for “action” was complete everyone was in place or off the set. It was fascinating to watch. The show was taped around 3PM, edited, then sent to New York for airing that evening.

After the taping, we picked up a pizza as we headed back to the campground, because who needs a fancy restaurant or food when you can enjoy this view from your lawn chairs?

Postcard of Malibu RV Park - Malibu, CA where we stayed for a few nights

If I could relive that day … here’s what I’d do differently.

  • Marvel at my ‘perfect’ body that has no pain.
  • Go for a run … thankfully I went for one the next morning pre-accident.
  • Jumprope … though I’m active now, jumping up and down is one thing that causes pain in various places.
  • Wear shorts or a skirt all day.
  • Get the hell out of Dodge that area

I can’t change the past … so instead I think about what I’m thankful for:


Opportunities I’ve had

Mental photo albums that are beautiful, with every photo in place

(unlike my real-life ones)

A few hours of alone time today … then driving to Baltimore

The beginning of Fitbloggin’ tonight.


I will savor my day …  no one knows what tomorrow may bring. I will make every attempt to fully look, hear, smell, taste and feel. I will be aware, intentional and thankful.

What about you? Will you savor the day? Will you fully live? What are you thankful for today?


Posted in Mind

Find Your Path — Lessons Learned While Kayaking

Yesterday I wrote about how I began kayaking and about a perfect day I had on Pine Creek, through what’s known as the PA Grand Canyon. I’d done that trip twice and both times it was sunny, the water levels were good and I had a great time. This past weekend I did it for the third time.

Pine Creek - 2009 - A beautiful, warm, sunny day ... Photo by Jerry Oberholtzer

This time .. there was not as much fun to be had.


For starters, the sun wasn’t out at all. It was cool and dreary with a little rain. Second, the water level was lower … which meant more rocks were exposed. We had to be on guard constantly, so we don’t hit one and flip over or run aground. In other areas, there was hardly any current, so we had to paddle more instead of being carried along by the water.

Though I had dressed in multiple layers, it wasn’t long before I was cold, tense and tired … in other words,  NOT enjoying the day.

Once you chose to do this trip, you are stuck on the river for two to three hours until a campground where we had parked a vehicle. There is no turning back (unless you want to paddle upstream) There is no cell phone service, so you can’t call for help. There is a bike path along the river, so you could walk and carry your kayak, but that’s not an option I wanted to try.

As I vacillated between being tense through the rocky areas and wishing for more rapids so we’d move faster. I entertained myself by thinking about how much kayaking resembles other areas of life. To get somewhere you have to fully commit. There’s an ebb and flow to making it work. Sometimes patience is needed … other times ferociously paddling is the only thing that saves you from unwanted consequences.

When coming up to an area with rocks everywhere … I never knew which way to go. When I was on the right the left always looked better or vise versus. With time, I realized since water takes the easiest route, most times the best plan was to allow my kayak to go with the flow. That took me to the deepest water and the least rocks. I’d look ahead and paddle gently on one side or another to make small adjustments to avoid hitting rocks directly.

Sometimes in life, when we aren’t sure which direction to go, we need to allow ourselves to be carried by the energy around us … as we contribute small efforts to keep ourselves from colliding with danger.

On calm waters, if a large rock was sticking up in the direction I was headed, I discovered I didn’t need to paddle frantically to try and avoid it, instead I dropped my oar in the water on the side of my kayak that I wanted to turn towards. Usually that resistance and the water going around the rock was enough to turn my kayak slightly and avoid hitting the rock.

How many times do we panic about an obstacle in our way … when all we need to do is make a few small adjustments and we can easily get around it?

Around turns, the water generally flowed up against the bank. Those times going with the flow would have had a bad ending. I had to paddle hard to counteract the strength of the current and stay away from the bank. A kayak hitting a bank with strong currents usually means it flips over.

There are times in life when things are headed in a direction we don’t want them to go … then we have to give our all to change the course. Going with the flow could cause disaster.

The most interesting observation I made was when I tried to follow the route the kayakers ahead of me took because it looked easy and/or it worked for them. Most times when I did that, I ended up hitting a rock or getting sprayed with cold water from deep rapids or running aground on low areas in the river.

After doing this a time or two … I began trusting myself and following my instincts about the best path for me. I leaned on the principals I’ve described above. To my surprise, though I still had to stay alert, I ended up enjoying the day more and I avoided a swim in the negative 60-degree water.

When everyone and everything is going in one direction and it’s working for them, it is so tempting to follow. But how many times have you tried that … only to end up frustrated and feeling like you are banging your head against a rock wall?

Today … listen to your instincts when faced with a decision. Be smart … observe life around you first. Try to get a feel for the ebb and flow of what works. Take time to think, ponder, pray and/or meditate.

Then trust yourself and take the path that is best for you.

Posted in Mind

How to Have A Perfect Joy-filled Day

About six years ago, I started kayaking. The first year or so, I always kayaked on the same smooth lake … and I only went on wind-still days. Sometimes I went with a friend … other times I went alone. I’d slowly paddle in circles around the edges watching the birds and chipmunks or looking for turtles sunning themselves. With time, I began ‘racing’ across the widest part of the lake … against my friend or timing myself to see if I could improve from week to week. I loved being out in nature and with time began seeing/feeling the effects in my arms and that motivated me do more laps around the lake.

Kayaking on a lake in 2010 with friends ... Pearl, Loretta and Linda

Then one day I decided to go to another lake. At the far end of that lake, I found a small bridge that I could paddle under and be in another section of the lake. I paddled around it and discovered a stream that was big enough for me to paddle in for a short distance … before rocks forced me to turn around. Paddling in this small creek was more fun than going in circles on a lake, so I began dreaming of kayaking on a river.

Kayaking on a river requires more planning … maps have to be read, water levels have to be checked and a vehicle has to be dropped off at the end point. And while it’s safe to kayak alone on a lake, it’s not safe to be alone on a river, so schedules have to be coordinated with fellow kayakers.

When all that is done and I’m on the river, I love the process of moving from point A to point B. I enjoyed the exhilaration of floating fast through the rapids and the challenge of paddling around rocks. I enjoy seeing areas and sights that I would never see otherwise. I’ve seen bald eagles. I should study birds to be able to identify the many others I’ve seen.

Recently I’ve been struck with the process of how I went from not even knowing what a kayak was … to spending hours in a kayak on a river.

It made me realize that I don’t need to allow things in life to intimidate me … things which I know nothing about. I need to research, learn the lingo, get the equipment and start slow (maybe even go in circles at first) I need to challenge myself to succeed in small ways, to gain confidence and then be motivated to try more.

I have to be willing to allow things/events/people to pull me forward to try things that I’ve never tried before. I have to put some boundaries in place to prevent getting blown off track by a strong wind or set my set my goals too high. I need to prepare, train and plan … so I don’t end up being up a creek without a paddle.

A few years after I began kayaking, my husband and I spent a day on Pine Creek, kayaking through what’s known as the PA Grand Canyon. It was warm and sunny. The water levels were good. Our packed lunch tasted heavenly. It ended up being a perfect day. Seriously, a perfect, joy-filled day.

Are there things you like to try … maybe cooking, a new job, writing, sewing, exercising, etc. Are you intimidated by the process … especially if you have to learn all kinds of new thing? Stop worrying about whether you will get ‘there’ or not … learning new things is good for your mind no matter what the end result is. I didn’t know if I would ever get off the smooth lake, but now kayaking has taken me places I never thought I would go. What baby steps can you take to begin learning and to start the process of doing something new?

Start now and someday you could find yourself floating along having a perfect joy-filled day … doing something which you’ve never done before.

This past weekend I did Pine Creek for the third time. Find out tomorrow whether or now I had another perfect day. Hint … the sun didn’t shine and it was colder.
Posted in Mind,

Are You Unsure About Being Alone?

I first posted the clip below last year … saw it recently and wanted to share it again.

I love people. I get energy from people. I rarely say no to a party.

But I also like to be alone. I always have.

As a teen, I enjoyed shopping with girlfriends, but I also liked shopping alone. Then as a young mom with toddlers, playdates with other moms and kids were good, but I often took my kids to the park alone. (I know, that’s not technically alone, but since there was no adult conversation, it was kind of like being alone)

I like walking/running/biking/kayaking with friends, but I also love only hearing my breathing.

Being alone, alone can give me time to…

breathe deep
be still
hear myself think
process life

And being alone with strangers gives me time to…

notice others
imagine the stories behind the faces
strike up random conversations

If you are unsure about being alone … watch this:

So even though I love people. I get energy from people. I rarely say no to a party – I am more centered if I also plan some alone time.

Stop worrying if you don’t have a spouse/friend/etc to go with you … spend some time alone today and you might be surprised at what you discover about yourself and/or about others.

Do you enjoy being alone?

Posted in Thankful

Thankful Thursday – Post 25

An attitude of gratitude needs space.


Spring treesphoto © 2010 Jim Champion | more info (via: Wylio)


The trees in this picture are more dramatic due to the empty space in front of them. Whether the green grass was filled with flowers or junk, it would take away from appreciating the trees. So in our lives we need to allow space to appreciate things … too much clutter obscures our view.

Which means sometimes we have to say no, not only to ‘junk’ that fills our time, but even good things that can fill our time and make us so busy we can’t even pause and be thank you.

This week I am thankful for:

Our oldest son Joshua graduating from college

Beautiful trees in my neighborhood

A sweet run with Dean Karnazes

Doing a 20-mile bike ride

Joshua moving home

Beautiful weather

Good coffee



Today … not someday, give yourself space to pause by learning the value of saying no … and you’ll find more things to be thankful for!

What are you thankful for today?