Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can’t

Tiffany necklaceYou would be correct. I just did something I hadn’t previously thought I could do, run a half-marathon with crazy hills and finish with a time similar to other races I completed. I didn’t run regularly until about 5 years ago. It was something to be avoided like catching the flu, getting stuck in rush hour traffic or other painful events.

At the time I was bored and looking for a new challenge; my job was dull and I was not sure what I wanted to do. I kept getting information for Team in Training and I’m one to pay attention to signs. I went to a meeting and signed up to run a half-marathon. Still, while training I would do my best to avoid really big hills. Running 13.1 miles was one thing, running large hills was quite another.

My first half had rolling hills, nothing crazy and I had trained well for it. The second and third half-marathons were flat. I found the third kind of boring, plus the course looked endless. I’d been training for my fourth half and doing a lot of hills since my race was going to be in San Francisco. The good thing about hills is that you focus on the hill, not how long the course looks.

How did I decide to do a race that scared me? I was swayed by the perks, by the enthusiasm of a friend who completed it and my coach encouraging me to do it. A women’s race, running along the wharf and under the Golden Gate Bridge, chocolate from Ghiradelli at mile 11 and a Tiffany necklace instead of a medal? Sign me up!

I still don’t love the hills but I can run them. And I knew there would be one that I wouldn’t want to run, it was very steep and I could actually walk it faster. Arms pumping, body slightly tilted from the hips, back straight and shoulders relaxed. My coaches’ voices ran through my head and I kept my form. I also got up that hill faster than a lot of people who opted to run it.

Why? Because I trained and I built the confidence to know that I could. With this confidence I was also able to run up the hill at mile 9. I was also able to get up and run after falling down at mile 10.5. It hurt, I cut my knee, bruised & scraped up my hands and ripped my CWX running tights.

Ripping those tights are like ripping a pair of Spanx, quite a feat. A fellow runner helped me up and another ran back for my sunglasses, wonderful women that I did not know. A coach who is also a doctor checked me out, determined I could finish and sent me on my way.

It was thrilling to finish and know that I completed a personal challenge. That I could get back up after the fall and run 2.5 more miles. I wear that necklace proudly.

What challenge do you want to tackle? What is holding you back from attempting it?

Need some help in figuring out how to reach your goals? Send me an email to schedule a complimentary 20 minute power session, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.

Eating Healthy On the Go

airplaneI’m sort of on vacation, I’m on my way to San Francisco to run Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I’m excited and bit nervous, that’s a hilly area to be running a half-marathon. Since I’m going to be running I like to fuel with healthy foods that will support my run. I also don’t like to eat new foods when I’m going for a long run, who wants stomach cramping or worse?

Add to that I don’t eat wheat or dairy and my foods get further limited. So how to stay healthy while on the go? It takes some preparing, some researching and asking questions. I asked if I could have a gluten-free meal at the Inspiration dinner the night before the run and was told no problem. I’ve found a few places where I can buy food to have in the hotel room and another quick Google search let me know which restaurants have gluten & dairy free options.

For the plane I tend to bring my own food anyway. I don’t know what’s in those meals and even before I had a wheat & dairy intolerance I preferred not to eat them. I’d rather throw a couple of snacks in my bag and be done with it. A package of tuna, an avocado, some nuts & maybe some gluten-free crackers and I’m eating much better than most pre-packaged meals. I also tend to bring small packets of oatmeal or trail mix depending on the time of day I’m traveling.

I buy a bottle of water in the airport and drink a lot of water and seltzer on the plane. I don’t like using the facilities but it’s definitely better than being dehydrated. What are some tips and tricks you use to eat healthy while traveling?

Having trouble with your daily eating plan? Not sure what foods work best to help you lose weight, avoid the 3 pm slump or to keep up with your kids? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a complimentary 30 minute power session and you will get one tip that you can start implementing right away.


Why Is Gluten Free the New Darling?

WHEAT2You see this food is gluten-free in headlines, in ads and there are celebrities tweeting how they’re gluten fee and lost so much weight. Grocery stores touting products that are gluten-free and charging a pretty steep price in the process. But do you really need to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon?

It depends. Many of us do have a sensitivity to gluten, the proteins found in wheat which give baked goods their chewy texture. We’re not able to fully digest the proteins and it leads to symptoms such as upset stomach, bloating, inability to lose weight, brain fog, exhaustion, chronic pain and inflammation. Others have no problems digesting wheat or gluten and are fine eating a sensible amount of whole wheat based foods.

What we don’t need, however, are many of the products that are being marketed. What is the difference between eating a cracker made from sweet white rice, potato starch and tapioca flour and eating a slice of white bread? These foods are not giving you adequate nutrition. Potato chips are a gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan food, it doesn’t mean you should be eating them daily.

There are plenty of whole foods that don’t contain gluten. Brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, corn and amaranth are all naturally gluten-free and you’re not paying a premium price for them. There are some good gluten-free products on the market, made from whole grains and seeds but you need to look for them. Read your labels and know what it is that you’re eating.

How do you know if you have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten? Allergies can be detected via a blood test. Sensitivities can be determined by an elimination diet.

Not sure if you have a food sensitivity? Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to grab a free 30 minute power session to discuss the food issues that you are having.

The Best Tool for Weight Loss

968eThe best way to keep yourself on track is by planning. My clients often tell me they resist this suggestion and then end up regretting it when 6 pm comes and they have no idea what they’re going to make for dinner. Planning your meals and having healthy foods accessible makes weight loss and healthy eating much easier. Knowing that you have a meal either ready to eat or that only needs a quick prep and cook keeps you from ordering take out.

So what happens when you forget to plan a meal or you’re running so far behind you have to make something other than the meal you intended? Having prepared meals in the freezer is one way and having pantry staples is another. When I make soup, stew or sauce I always make extra and freeze it. I also do this with things like meatballs, chicken and brown rice. This way when I’m in a hurry I just pull something out and heat it up.

Pantry staples that I keep on hand are beans, tuna, containers of chopped tomatoes, quinoa, quick cooking brown rice, chicken broth, vegetable stock, canned artichoke hearts and brown rice pasta. In the freezer I have shrimp, an assortment of vegetables and whole wheat or GF naan bread.

The point is to have things that you enjoy and can make a variety of different meals out of. This way you aren’t tempted to say the heck with it and order yet another pizza or greasy take out meal.

Do you need help with meal planning? Does the thought of figuring out what to make or eat for the week fill you with dread? Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a complimentary 20 minute power consultation and we can come up with a plan that works for you.