What Bugged Me After I Finally Lost the Weight

beforeI posted this before picture of myself today on my Facebook page. It was a little shocking to see myself at what I believe was my heaviest weight. I was told I was inspiring and brave.

The truth is I was kind of fed up when I decided to lose the weight. There was no one defining moment that made me say enough is enough. One morning I just thought I can’t keep doing this. But I’ve posted on that before.

Today I want to talk about what happened after I lost the weight since watching all the likes kind of brought that WTH? feeling back. I knew I’d feel better physically. What I didn’t expect was my reaction to all the congratulatory comments I received. I didn’t feel I deserved it. I didn’t cure cancer or perform brain surgery, I lost weight.

I was still me so what was the big deal? Was I not good enough before? Then I caught a glimpse of myself in a window and I didn’t recognize me. I had to look again. Really, that thin person was me? And then I slowly realized why people were really commenting.

It wasn’t that I was a better person, it was that I kept at something that wasn’t easy. People were inspired by my hard work. That I put the time and effort in to get where I was. And it was work, as I tell my clients: “There is no magic pill; if I had one I’d love to share it with you. I’d also be living in Hawaii or in La Jolla.” (yes, they’re my happy places).

Is what I did remarkable, no. Can you do it too? Of course. I can tell you that it’s much easier when you have support and some guidance. That you are more likely to reach your goals when you know what your underlying desire is. Do you want to: be around for your grandkid? dance at your daughter’s wedding? have enough energy to keep all your balls in the air and get that promotion at work?

All of those things are possible!

Need help reaching your goals? I’m here to help you. Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to set up a planning session.


Speed Work is Like Planks

treadmillI’ve added speed training in the past two weeks. I kind of dread doing it and it’s hard when I’m actually running it. But I kind of like the drills. To me it’s like doing planks, I can feel them working and I can see the results from that work.

I just don’t love doing them and they can be really uncomfortable. But no one ever said that training would be easy. If it were easy I suspect a lot more people would be running marathons regularly.

The other day I started my warm up at a slow run and it felt like that was enough for the day. I figured I’d try doing the speed drills and if I was exhausted I’d just run. I knew I could switch days for the drills but I wanted to give it a shot. Sure enough once I got going it was fine.

They make the time on the treadmill pass much more quickly. I’m watching laps & recover times, rather than counting down miles & minutes. By the time I hit my final cool down lap I was back to my warm up speed. And the same pace that felt slightly challenging now felt ridiculously slow.

That’s when I like the speed work. After I’ve pushed myself more than I thought I could without crossing the line into hurting. I feel accomplished and proud.

We’re expecting a blizzard in the Northeast so I’m fairly certain that I’ll be on the treadmill again this week. I was lucky enough to be able to get my long run in outside on Sunday. I waited long enough so the sidewalks were mostly clear and melting had begun. I don’t see that happening this week!

What is the best part of training for you?

Do you do planks? If so, do you like or dread them?

How do you make time on the treadmill go faster?



When do you Push Through and When do you Skip a Run?

sneakersI can’t decide if I like these sneakers or not. They’re cute and they’re light but I need to run more in them.

Last week’s speed training went well. I did a pyramid program that incorporated 2 half-marathon pace laps , a 5k pace lap and one mile pace sprint followed by another 5k lap and 2 half-marathon laps. Each lap is followed by a 90 second recovery break. I felt good afterward. I did Barre and strength workouts twice and ran a slower run on Thursday.

Thursday my quad was a little achy. I think I pulled something during Barre on Wednesday and running irritated it. Friday morning my quad felt like a knife had been stuck in it. I iced, rested and limped along. Saturday I wasn’t sure if I should try my long run or not. My leg felt tender but it didn’t hurt. I figured I would go and see how many miles I could get in without the knife-like pain.

I was shooting for 10, after 7 it started to ache a bit. I decided I’d run/walk to 8 and then do a longer run on Sunday or Monday. I met up with my teammates who run/walk and ended finished up my miles with them and my coach. (The coach who is supposed to be taking the season off from coaching, but can’t resist running with us. Lucky for me)! I was okay running as long as I didn’t run hard or fast.I don’t know if the frigid weather was a blessing or curse.

Was I thrilled with the run? Not really but I don’t want to end up injured early on in my training. All things considered I was able to do more than I thought, which is what marathon training is all about for me. I did a slow recovery run on Sunday. I felt like my gait was off a little so I stuck with strength training on Monday. We’ll see what the rest of the week brings.

What do you do on cross-training days?

When do you sit a workout out and when do you push? (I will push through twinges and aches from saying hello to muscles I haven’t visited in a while; I won’t push through sharp pain).

Eating Healthy Isn’t About Being Good

drive thruI’m seething over a comment made on a friend’s Facebook page. One of his friend’s told him to lose weight he needed to cut his calories to 1,200 per day and to work out. Those kind of comments make me crazy. There is no way that amount of calories is sustainable for him.

This was on the heels of a post I just finished reading by a blogger I generally enjoy. She claims she’s cutting calories by eating intuitively, yet she’s getting her meals from the drive-thru. That’s not intuitive eating. That’s eating only when you’re hungry and there’s a difference. Intuitively you would know your body needs vegetables. (to clarify: She is not ordering the salads at the drive through. Yes, it’s an option but it’s not one she’s taking).

There are some responsible eating plans around and then there are those that are restrictive. (I wrote about restrictive diets in my newsletter and how they can be harmful to your body. If you want to read more you can sign up for my newsletter here). A restrictive diet is not sustainable for the long-term and can cause damage to your body. I watch the binge dieters lose weight and then gain even more back.

Feeling like a failure and frustrated after falling off a diet can leave you thinking “I may as well give up since I can’t do it anyway.” The truth is not all diets work for everybody and some diets are flat-out ridiculous. Eating less and working out more isn’t the answer either.

Not all calories are created equal. 500 calories of lean beef or chicken, a sweet potato and vegetables is going to be much more filling and nutritious than a fast food burger, fries and soda. Eating real, unprocessed foods in normal sized portion is treating your body well, creating more energy for yourself and will leave you lighter.

Setting yourself up for success is not about willpower, it’s about creating good habits for yourself and simple mind shifts. You’re not good or bad because you eat a certain way. Eating healthy doesn’t make you good. It means you are making better choices to keep your body healthy.

Do you need help in making better choices and setting yourself up for success? Email me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com and together we can come up with a plan that works for you.




Running in 17 Degrees

cold runSaturday was back to increasing mileage. I was aiming for 9 and did about 9.5 so that was good. It was 17 degrees out when I left the house, ouch! I run to and from practice when I can to add mileage in. I debated if I should or not; I did but realized I left the house later than I thought. Happily at a little past the half-mile point a teammate stopped and picked me up. It would have been a miserable 9 mile run alone!

My coach, my mentor and I were running longer than the rest of the group so we took a different route. I love the park we train in but endless loops of the same park tends to make me want to scratch my eyes out. Luckily we were all in agreement and it turned out the park we normally run in was much icier than our alternate route.

My hamstring and pirformis were aching and let me know on the uphills. By mile 7.5 I was starting to feel sore, even though my legs were a little numb from the cold. I pushed to 8 and then ran walked the 1.5 back home.

Our water started freezing while we ran. The spout on my bottle actually froze and wouldn’t lift up; I had to work hard to twist the cap off. I’m going to add some salt next time which should help. I kept my chews in my inside jacket pocket so they wouldn’t freeze. It worked but they were still pretty cold!

What helped get me through (besides the great company):

I foam rolled and did a yoga warm up before I left the house. It was way too cold and I was way to stiff to feel good to warm up with a slow jog. I also did more yoga when I got back home.

Running with the gaiter (neck tube). It kept me warm and I was able to breathe in warm air. The trade-off? It freezes when you get warm and yank it down. Moving it around a bit helps.

Disposable hand warmers in my gloves. My fingertips would have gone numb otherwise.

Curling up with hot tea, my throw blanket and Missy mutt after the yoga was finished. Bliss.

What do you look forward to after a cold long run?

What do you do to keep your water from freezing?

How do you Approach your Training?

almond butterThis week was a down week for my long run. Already?! It actually felt good because I added extra miles to my mid-week runs this past week. I know from training for a half we have some down weeks as well to let our bodies rest and repair.

It makes sense. I read a really great article on Greatist the other day about how we can achieve fitness without waging a war on our bodies. It’s a balance of using intensity wisely  for motivation rather than using it compulsively to exhaust yourself.

I’ve been worried about the toll marathon training will take on my body and brain. I’m pretty sure by the end of March my life will be: eat, work, run, sleep. I want to have a race where I feel good afterwards. I know this means listening to my body and resting when it needs to.

I also know that I need to give my training it’s due and eat foods that will support me along the way. I’m incorporating cross training with more yoga and strength training to help prevent injury and keep me strong. I was injured training for my first half-marathon and I don’t want that to happen again.

I also gave my Healthy Eating for Runners talk to my team this week. I talk about the 3 key principles: hydration, fuel and recovery. While we’re all different we can all tank if our bodies aren’t properly hydrated and fueled before a run. And after a long run we need fuel to recover and let the muscles heal.

As a Holistic Health Coach I like my nutrition to be made from ingredients I know and can pronounce. Through some trial and error I know what works for me and what doesn’t. Pre-run breakfasts are either oatmeal or multi-grain sprouted bread with almond or sunflower seed butter. Peanut butter gives me heartburn when I run. During a run nothing orange flavored stays down for me, no matter what brand it is.

Happily there are many choices available, whether you’re buying them prepackaged or making your own.

What do you like to fuel yourself with while running?

What are some no-no’s for you?

Are the Ads Promising a New You Too Good to Be True?

I did itHappy New Year! Do you feel like you’re being bombarded by companies promoting diets, pills, gym memberships, magazine subscriptions and such trying to capitalize in on your New Year’s Resolutions? So much pressure and frankly it’s annoying. I’d love a get thin quick trick, who wouldn’t?

Unfortunately most of it doesn’t work. Exercise will help you lose weight initially you’re going to plateau unless you also change your eating habits. When most people don’t see a change during the month of January they quit going to the gym and revert back to their eating habits.

Change takes more than a few weeks. If you stick with the gym and healthier eating habits for 3 months you will see a change, your body will become stronger and leaner. In my experience, both with my clients and myself, it takes six months for those new habits to become routine.

That may sound long but by making small changes throughout those months you’ll be motivated by seeing steady progress along the way. It won’t be the quick weight loss promised in most ads but it will be something you can stick with past the month of January.

Need help getting your eating back on track without tricks? I am leading a detox beginning January 25. It’s also a good way to jump-start a new healthy eating plan. If you’re bloated, tired, out of sorts and still craving yummy foods this is for you. If you don’t want to be stuck eating only salads and drinking smoothies this is for you.

It’s not for you if you’re looking for a quick weight loss program, although you will lose a few pounds. As with any short-lived program if you go back to eating extra helpings of food, treats and excess sugar you’ll gain the weight back. It’s not a miracle worker.

I’m here to help guide you and support you, to give you the helping hand and gentle push. With the detox you’ll get over 40 pages of recipes for meat lovers and vegetarians alike, meal ideas, daily check ins, preparation guide, step by step detox guide and what to do post detox.

If you would like to sign up for the detox or want more information please click here.