Healthy Living is a Marathon – Not a Sprint

Declaring what you want is not quite the same as training for what you want.

If a client were to enter my office and ask for help with proper training and nutrition for a marathon, the first thing I would want to know is their current level of running and training – otherwise known as their starting point. If they had never run before, and the race was in a few months, we may have to discuss the feasibility of their plan.

This is no different than when a client comes into my office with a goal to start eating and living healthfully but no plan. Is it possible to suddenly make these lifestyle changes? Yes! But that ability is reserved for a select few people that I’ve worked with. Most need time and space to incorporate new ways of living and eating that complement their current life structure.

  • Focus on adding small things in before taking big things out. What healthy additions can you make in your life daily? More water? More fruit or veggies? How about lean protein? A quick walk? A few deep breaths throughout the day? How about a few stretches at your desk? A moment of reflection on gratitude? Listening to your favorite pick-me song? All of these are examples of adding things in without taking ANYTHING out.
  • Keep your starting goals realistic. Just as I wouldn’t recommend that a couch potato go out and run 5 miles tomorrow, I’m also not going to recommend walking 3 miles a day, 5 days a week. Why? Because I would be setting that person up for failure (and potentially contributing to injury at the same time). When we create goals that are lofty or ambitious, while yes it would be awesome if they were met, often they lead to feelings of failure because they were too big. Start small, succeed, and create a new goal.
  • Allow for mistakes and the unanticipated. But don’t give up. Setbacks and upsets are going to happen. But when they do, don’t stay discouraged for too long. Reflect on what happened and see if there is a learning opportunity or takeaway so that you’re better prepared for next time. Allow space to give yourself grace. Learning anything new takes time and healthful living is a set of acquired skills requiring patience.

So, what are some things that you can do to train for being healthy?

Start off with creating a good goal that moves you and inspires you to act. All too often, I hear, “I want to lose weight.” Commendable, yes. Inspiring, no. How would losing weight change your life? What could you do that you can’t do now? This is where inspiring goals come in. If you need help in this department, I love goals and words and can help you create something awesome.

Come up with a plan. A legit, pen to paper kind of plan. Write down the things that you want to do to be healthy. Thinking and pondering about these things is not enough. Having things down on paper holds you more accountable.

Start small. Let’s say that you’ve identified ten new things that you want to do. Make your bed every day, meditate or pray in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, go for walk or run, pack a lunch for work, drink less coffee, skip the candy bowl at work, not yell at your kids, eat a family dinner, not snack after dinner, go to bed at a reasonable time, not watch TV before bed, read more books, take a bath, not have a glass of wine… Okay, that’s more than ten. My point is, if these are all things that you want to do that you’re currently not doing, doing ALL of these ALL of the time may be a bit overwhelming. Pick a few that seem reasonable. But maybe instead of walking EVERY day, you manage to do it three times a week. Didn’t pack a lunch for work? Did you get a salad instead? High-five! Celebrate the small victories. Over time, things get easier to do.

Remember, healthful living is a matter of making lots of good choices every day. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge your wins, and don’t give up!

Fun Food Made Simple

Whenever I walk by Barbie’s desk at lunchtime, I never know what I may find.

Barbie does a great job of bringing a healthy light lunch and snack to work. What I love is that she keeps it simple yet innovative with a focus on flavor. Check out the gallery of the the different foods she brings for inspiration!



It’s Not Just What You Eat That Matters: Why Mindful Eating is Important

I used to eat 5 pieces of pizza in one sitting.

Okay six.

My favorite would be to eat all the cheese and toppings off with a fork and then sprinkle the sauce-covered crust with grated parmesan cheese (or Frank’s Red Hot). Bonus!

Pizza was not the only thing that I could eat a lot of. I’ve had a history of loving seconds and thirds.

When I think about how I used to eat and how I used to feel, as you probably suspect, they were related. (more…)

Love on a Plate

Give. Receive. Share. Enjoy. Celebrate. Comfort. Heal. Nourish.

These are all things that we do with food. And when we do them, we do them with love.

Food is a source of connection. It is something that brings us together. We commune around a table, sharing our time, our stories and our day.

Food is a way to love ourselves – to receive nutrients and energy, to fuel our cells and our bodies, and to quell hunger.

Food is something that we give to others when they are in a time of need.

Food is something that we use to celebrate.

Food has a language all its own that we begin to learn from a very young age.

To become connected to our food language, we want to connect to our feelings that we are experiencing when we eat. We often eat when we aren’t even hungry for food. So, if it’s not food that we are hungry for, what is it?

Could it be love?

Asking questions when you’re eating is an easy way to reflect on how you are nourishing yourself. Check in and reflect, “Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Is it food that I need?”

If you can’t identify a food hunger, dig a little deeper.

“What is missing for me right now? What do I really wish I had?”

Learning to connect when you’re eating to how you’re feeling can empower you to make different choices. Choices that feed you in a different way. Choices that satisfy. Choices that nourish.

Remember food is love. But love is so many other things too.

Give. Receive. Share. Enjoy. Celebrate. Comfort. Heal. Nourish.


For our focus on hearth health this fine month of Fe-brrrr-uary, I wish to share this article by Dave Orrick:

Don’t let this winter keep you from going outside.

Sure, if 20 below isn’t your thing, sleep in on the really nasty mornings.

But anything above 10 below … no biggie for those of us who love the winter. This information also pertains to those who desperately want to.

The key is knowing how to manage it.

You know all the basic tips: cover up against the wind, dress in layers, stay hydrated (but not with a full bladder) and well-fed, wear felt-lined pac boots and so on. Those are important.

But here are some tips you might not have heard. Whether ice fishing without shelter or just taking a brisk walk in the crispest, clearest air of the year, these tidbits allow me to spend the entire day outside — and not get cranky when I walk from the car to the office.



In indoor clothes, step outside. When you start shivering, go back in. Warm up. Go back out. Repeat.

I learned this technique years ago from a guy who said there was medical proof you can recalibrate your body’s internal thermostat. I don’t know if that’s true, but I believe it. And we know this: When the first 30-degree day hits in October, we shrivel. Yet, when the first 30-degree day hits in March or April, we strip down like teenagers on spring break.

In the above exercise, you’re teaching your body — in a crash course — that you won’t die from being outside for a few minutes. Shivering is an early stage of shock. The body (brain really), thinks things are dire. You shake to create warmth, and blood flow actually constricts. And it’s just not fun. It might start in a matter of seconds the first time you go out.

But after repeating the process, you’ll see: The length of time it takes you to start shivering will grow longer and longer. And you’ll feel better.


Along those lines, don’t wear your winter hat for short trips outdoors.

To be clear: If you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period, such as hunting, fishing, shoveling, feel free to don the wool hat. The point isn’t hours of misery; the point is to reteach our bodies that short exposure to sub-freezing weather needn’t be miserable.

But walking to and from the car, or to the mailbox, or some other small stroll is the proper amount of exposure to not wear the hat.


Winter is no time for showing off your figure.

The Michelin Man is more like it. Take cues from walruses, penguins and polar bears: roundish and puffy.

And, in general, go with natural materials. From skin to outer layer, I like silk, wool, down. Nothing blocks the wind like leather or other animal hides. (Freaky accessory: my leatherface mask.) To be clear, some synthetics will do the trick, such as thick polar fleece, which imitates wool, and silk imitators.

But ditch anything that makes you look too fashionable.


When the cold wind knifes you broadside, picture yourself as water.

The wind will slice through you, but it won’t harm you. A blade slices easily through water, but does no damage.

This counterintuitive piece of wisdom was given to me by a Chinese friend via the Book of Tao and falls under the concept of wu-wei. Water is among the strongest forces in nature, not because it attempts to block like a wall, but because it yields so effortlessly without breaking.

Practical application: You don’t cringe — flexing your muscles and constricting blood flow — when the cold wind blows; you relax, and you breathe. This is actually hard.

Of course, the physics of it are absurdly backwards, but the metaphor works wonders for me. It helps to clothe yourself so you don’t have to hunch to block wind.


Those of us who ski or hike in this weather know the hardest part is the beginning, before your inner boiler is warmed. But if you keep moving, you’ll get that boiler heated up, and it’ll stay warm.

After a spell of steady movement — 10 to 15 minutes for me — the heart is pumping a steady supply of warm blood throughout my body. Including those fingers and toes. Before you know it, the heavy mittens and hat can come off without immediate chill in anything warmer than 10 below or so.

Put another way: The best way to keep your extremities warm is to warm your core.


If you have nowhere to hike, just move.

But don’t just stomp around in a circle like a fool. Do jumping jacks, like a bigger fool. Or fling your arms alternately in big circles like Olympic swimmers before they take their marks. Better yet, go all-in and do the Phelps — if you can without losing your gloves.  Not only will these movements get your heart rate up (and boiler working), you’ll also physically force blood to your fingers and, if you do jumping jacks, toes.

When camping in cold weather, this is my pre-bedtime routine. (The jumping jacks, not the Phelps.)


The most overlooked part of the body to protect in the deep freeze: the back of the neck.

This time of year, I begin to look like some throwback Euro type because I have a collection of wool sweaters with thick turtlenecks so long they crowd my chin. Neck warmers work, too.

Remember those polar animals? Neckless.

Mock my fashion if you will, but notice I’m not shivering.

~ Dave Orrick

I will personally show you The Phelps move, should you ask when you are in the office.  J

As a lover of the outdoors in general, I encourage you to embrace it.  What I find most in folks who do not appreciate the cold weather is that they are not dressed for it.  How you dress makes a HUGE difference in your comfort, tolerability, and attitude when temperatures plummet below zero.  I look at temperature as a challenge.  If it is too hot, what can I do to enjoy the outdoors, if it is too cold, what are my options?  You can get creative, as I did here:



If you live in the Midwest, do your best to get fresh air year round – You will be the better for it.

We all will die, that we know.  You have the power to determine how you LIVE.  Give it your best shot.

One last article to share with you on the benefits of being outdoors in cold weather:

Share your winter outdoor ideas on our facebook page –we can all benefit:

Get cozy, and get moving…Outside!

~ Barbara A. Luepke