The Tortoise And Hare Weight Loss Approach

Do you remember the kids story “The Tortoise and The Hare”? It’s been in existence since the dawn of mankind.


A quick summary, the rabbit challenges the tortoise to a race, confident of his abilities to win he dashes so far ahead that he decides he’s done enough and has it solidly in his paw to win, so he decides to take a quick nap on the roadside.

Meanwhile, tortoise who has been plodding along, is taking it slow and steady, keeping his little beady eyes on the goal of the finish line.

He eventually passes sleeping hare and ultimately winds the race and the big time bragging rights in the forest that he beat the mouthy, sassy hare in a race.

hare 2

I hope tortoise worked it for all he could.

Today we’re gonna talk about the goal of weight loss and fitness journeys in that context.

I did a mini post on it for my social media last week and the idea has kinda kept growing. Basically, I thought about how there were two types of people when they decided to get serious with the idea of weight loss and fitness.

They are either the tortoise or the hare in their approach to it, go all out, or slow and steady.

The Hare approach

Don’t get me wrong. I think the hare had a crazy amount of confidence. I like that. Confidence is good. It can help you take on things you never thought possible and help you own yourself in a whole new way. Hare was a bit too confident though in his approach to being successful at reaching his goal. I’m pretty sure he didn’t plan well or make provisions for the unexpected.  Hare was going to go all out with everything he had and thought he’d accomplish his goal in a quick amount of time.   Unfortunately, by the time he knew what was happening his prize had slipped away from him and he didn’t hit his goal.

All to often I observe people decide that they are going to lose weight and start exercising. It’s a common wish and desire among thousands. Making it happen for them is often another story.

So when they decide it’s time, they are possibly armed with a little information and a long ago workout idea or plan they haven’t done in years.  They decide “come Monday, it’s time to diet”. All the negative not “good” food is gotten rid of, sometimes by consuming it in preparation for Monday.

They make radical, broad, sweeping changes in their daily nutrition often cutting out the very things they enjoy. They restrict their calories in a way that leaves them feeling miserable most of the day ( hungry) and embark on a to vigorous exercise plan that their dormant body isn’t used to.

They may often have goals that are to lofty for the time frame they have in mind ( to much weight loss to soon, a fitness level achieved that might take longer, getting into a certain size etc) they weigh in constantly hoping their restrictive diet and new exercise will work wonder miracles in weeks.

They are often very focused and determined, but miserable along the way. After weeks of drastic restricitions and their bodies hurting from doing to much to soon, they begin to make excuses or begin to revert back to those comfortable old eating habits. Eventually, they lose sight of the goal, their prize, and lose the race they set out for.

The Tortoise approach

Those who are the tortoise in the pursuit of weight loss and fitness know that it will be a slow, steady race. They understand that getting to the goal isn’t going to be fast. They don’t look for weight loss schemes to get them there faster. They understand that they just need to settle into a new routine and let their bodies naturally do what they are meant to do.

They don’t wait for Monday or a special occasion. When they determine they are going to do it, they just start.  Even if it is on a Wednesday.

They won’t throw in the towel if they have an off day. They will simply keep going focusing on those positive changes.

The tortoise people will learn to make slow steady changes in how they eat, and they will eat enough food to keep the hunger away and not to much to allow for weight loss to occur. They will not have a “last supper”  mentality that says to eat everything “bad” in the house because they will never have it again. They begin to understand that if they want a chocolate chip cookie along the way, they can have it and still keep moving to the prize. They learn to appreciate healthy, nutritious foods and not view them as punishment because they aren’t eating a big burger and extra large fries.

They start to see how their body feels and looks from eating healthy foods and then those less nutritious foods seems not so desirable anymore. They have new energy and realize, hey! I think I’m gonna win this race. Along the way, they may pass others who sped off in the beginning with some weight loss gimmick or shake or whatever but because they’ve learned to sustain their bodies with real, whole foods they’ve not only got energy but they’ve been slowly, steadily losing a bit of week each and every week and those little amounts are now starting to add up.

Each day that has gone by they have tried to make small, healthy, choices and decisions everything from passing on the stale office donut to getting up 30 minutes earlier to get a workout in and the prize is in their reach. At this point the tortoise is so comfortable living a new lifestyle with healthy habits they have no worries about getting to the goal.

It may have taken a bit longer, but their results will be permanent.

Which are you?

If you are among the many who desire to make changes in their life by  losing weight or getting more fit how do you approach the race?  Does the speed off and get there fast seem appealing? You just want the weight, flab and lack of energy to disappear over night so you’re willing to try whatever the new kid on the block is with weight loss sorcery. Maybe you don’t buy the sorcery but you just think the extreme cut everything out and be restricitive approach will get you there already.

Or perhaps, you’ve already been around the block a time or two with that approach and know it’s a process going nowhere.

You’ve learned and know and understand you haven’t gained weight and gotten out of shape overnight and it’s going to take some time to reverse the process. You just settle in for the long haul, taking it one day at a time celebrating each new day as you make decisions that will transform your life, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I want to win this race!



The first step to being successful is having a desire to do it. An understanding that it will take time is your first move to being a tortoise and not a hare.

Allow for changes to take place that need to take place. You didn’t gain weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight.

Make small daily dietary changes, not broad sweeping ones that leave you feeling hungry and deprived.

Eat a bit less. Don’t eat seconds. Add in a veggie or fruit if those are low on your nutrition list. Go for a walk if you haven’t exercised in a long time.

Schedule activities for yourself that you enjoy that make you feel good, mentally and physically.

Make new healthy recipes instead of eating out.

Learn to find activities to do when you feel like eating.

Weigh in only once a week. Look for other ways you are improving mentally and physically.  There is much more to process than your gravitational pull on this earth.

Settle small realistic goals. Continue to adjust as you reach them. ( i.e. focus on losing only 5 lbs at a time and not the whole 50 you really want to lose)

With some consistent, slow and steady moves, you will reach your weight loss and fitness goals and maintain them forever.

Tell me. In your approach to help and fitness are you the tortoise or hare?


Small Steps And New Habits

weeks of fitness



a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way.

Hello beautiful people!

Habits. If there’s one thing I’ve talked a lot about is habits. Overall it could safely be said our life is driven by habits… things we do in regular, predictable ways. We eat, shower, go to sleep at a set time and wake up most likely the same way.  You may have regular ways you get dressed and prepare for your day or how you take your coffee.

In a soothing way our habits can be a comfortable and normal part of our life.

We can also have negative habits in our lives that we want to get rid of. These obviously, vary individual but we would all likely agree that negative habits are best replaced by something more positive.

When it comes down to eating or exercise I frequently hear from people that these are things they “want to do” or “get better at doing”.

What they are essentially saying is they want to build some new positive habits into their life.

That… is often easier said than done.

Usually what happens is that the person decides it’s an all or nothing approach and dives right in.

Exercise? They take on to much to soon and hurt…so they quit determining it’s not worth it…it’s to hard.. they got to sweaty….they’re breathing hard with a pounding heart… don’t see any results.. (results take time and consistency people)
Food ? They immediately go on a drastic and restrictive eating plan that leaves them hungry, moody, and wanting to eat everything they now believe they are not “supposed ” to eat.  Ultimately, they just give in, hungry and feeling deprived  and go back to old ways determining it’s to hard and nothing is happening anyway.

New habits take time to build. They require a determination to take it one small step at a time and a desire to keep building on it each and every day.

It requires a tenaciousness to keep on even when we might not feel like we nailed it for that day to get up and keep moving forward.

You see small things we do will become habits. …which will lead to bigger things.

We just don’t view small things as mattering so much… we look for the big, grand, instant fix and it’s just not really like that in the context of health, fitness and an overall lifestyle change.

In that context, slow, small and steady win the long term race..

What if instead of drastically altering your diet you just started focusing on one thing you wanted to change?

Soda drinker? Maybe you want to try to replace one or two a day with water instead.

Fast food junkie who can’t pass a drive thru? why not plan and pack a few healthy things in your car if you just can’t make it home to get something to eat ( hint: you really won’t starve to death before you get home. I’ve applied this theory many times now 😉

Over eat at meals? learn to eat slower, take a little less, learn to really taste and savor what you are eating. Learn to stop when you are comfortably satisfied… and that might mean you leave food on your plate.

Sugar junkie? learn to be selective of the sweets you eat. Try to wean yourself a little at a time.

Not a big veggie or fruit eater? Work to add one or two new ones a week. In time try to increase your daily intake.

Exercise… if you’re moving from the couch to outside taking it easy in the beginning is your number one priority. You don’t want to get to enthusiastic and then hurt the next day so you can’t hardly move around.

The key is to find the thing you enjoy and gradually, skillfully work into it.  Your body requires time to adapt and adjust to the new demands being put on it.

Good news… your body is an amazing instrument that can adapt and change and get stronger! You just need to pace yourself accordingly to let your body do what it’s made to do.

Set small, realistic goals for yourself in the beginning. As you give yourself time to adjust to physical demands, you can then slowly add a little more to your exercise regime.

Be patient with yourself. Changes in your body do take time. Your cardiovascular strength as well as your muscular strength need consistent work but it will come.

I was in the store yesterday looking through magazines when the lady stocking them asked me what I was looking for. I told her I was after one called “Strong” but didn’t know if the new copy was out yet.

She looked at my bare arms and said… “well, you look really strong!”

And now days, I guess I do, but that has been a slow and steady process. I wanted to tell her several years ago my arms were just…arms… with no visible muscles at all. No definition, no cuts, no nothing. Just chubby looking, undefined arms.

I didn’t get “strong” over night.

You know what it was? Small things I did that led to regular habits in my life. Habits of exercise and eating better. Habits of moving my body longer and farther. Habits of learning to lift heavier things not just to get muscles, but to kick butt in daily life.

Those small things lead ultimately to bigger changes in me.

Weight loss. Better lab numbers. Smaller clothes. More energy. Better mental clarity. Confidence and empowerment. Better nutrition. Healthy looking body.

None of it happened overnight. All of it was built on the simple truth that I just did consistent small things that lead to new positive habits.

Do I have bad days? you bet I do. Have I learned by now that I just need to keep on with small steps, always moving forward? Absolutely.

So, my suggestion for you, if you’re wanting to make changes, to get into a healthy lifestyle.. one that’s permanent…

Focus on small changes at a time. It will be more lasting, easier to accomplish and not leave you feeling deprived, exhausted, starving or wanting to throw in the towel.

And remember, it’s not instant gratification, you’re in it for life. Be patient  and don’t give up on yourself.

Have you struggled getting started on a healthy lifestyle path? What has hindered you? Do you think the idea of small things to build new positive habits is something you can easily do or is more attainable?



Holiday Survival Tips

If there’s one thing I want to help people with on their health journey ( well I have more than one thing )  it’s navigating through these next couple months of amazing food and deliciousness that will be tempting us.  It’s my plan to continue to offer you sane and sensible advice in these upcoming weeks.

I think people under estimate their abilities to keep pushing on to their goals even in the midst of festivities. It’s entirely possible to do. You don’t have to jump on the “diet band wagon” in January. I’ll tell you, nothing, nothing at all has felt more freeing to me the past few years than not thinking I have to “get on a diet”. When you live a lifestyle, it’s an ongoing thing, all the time.

This afternoon I flipped the TV on in time to see the Dr Oz show coming on ( which I’ve never seen) I was going to move on but they were talking about surviving the holidays and strategies to not gain weight.

Well… ok…they had my attention and I wanted to see what suggestions might be offered up.

A lot of it was similar stuff I already preach to you, my 1.5 readers. And again, good point brought up, people don’t gain weight just from Thanksgiving/ the day after or Christmas Eve/Christmas. Really, you won’t pack on pounds from some extra sweet potato casserole or the pie.

No… it’s all those days in between that people feel entitled to eat because it’s the “holiday season”. It’s all those not so important days of excess that over those couple months lead to weight gain.

They offered up a suggestion of having a “high calorie” day where you allowed yourself treats, followed by a “low calorie” day where you ate normally with a focus on eating well. Personally, I don’t think even every other day should be a feeding frenzy, but hey, that’s just me.

I thought it was an interesting idea… but when he said “keep your high calorie days around 2,000 calories and your low calorie days no more than 1200” I kinda balked at that… I mean… 1200 calories… you are gonna be more than ready to go off the wagon on your high calorie day ’cause you’re gonna be starving.

My thoughts? Just be sensible. Remember every day doesn’t need to be filled with cookies, treats, drinks etc.
Learn to be super selective in what goes in your mouth. Eat only what you truly love.
Continue to eat good, healthy foods.
Eat small amounts of things you love and don’t stuff yourself…. the food won’t be taken away from you if you don’t get it all at once…

Make exercise a priority… it does more than manage weight or help with weight loss. It will clear your head, reduce stress, and help you keep your focus on what matters. Not only that, you will feel like a Superhero when you’re done 😉

Being smart and careful will see you through the season without needing to increase your pant size in January =)


Eating Mindfully


It’s everywhere in our lives, isn’t it? Food is essential for life and health, but it’s also used for purposes other than nutrition.

food as a drug

Perhaps you’ve seen this quote floating around the internet. Food is used for everything from celebrating, comforting, helping our emotions, and perhaps even feeding deeper things in us that we are unaware of, like coping with life.

There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at some point, eaten, without the need of hunger. There isn’t anything necessarily “wrong” with it… I mean come on… when we have room for chocolate cake after a meal… we aren’t hungry, are we? And I usually won’t turn it down… 😉

For any of us on a health and wellness journey, eating mindfully is crucial to long term success.

What does eating mindfully mean?

Let’s look at it like this… have you ever been in the kitchen and found yourself mindlessly shoving something in your mouth ? Are really thinking about it? You might have seen it and thought… “oh this…”  you might not even really taste it in the full sense of tasting. You’re checked out thinking about the laundry, or tomorrows to-do list.

You can put yourself in whatever scenario…there are times we are shoveling food in our faces without a purpose and well, quite mindlessly.

Or, we could feel stressed and emotionally strung out. A hard day. Kids making us nuts. Aging parents. Job that takes a toll on you.

We find comfort in our favorite food.

Trust me… I get it.

I think one of THE biggest things that clicked to me a few years ago was recognizing I often would reach for food, and not good stuff, and realize I was emotionally eating. I also understood I had seen it modeled in front of me my entire life in my family. To identify (emotional eating) helped keep me aware of that weak area in me.

I remember one evening, after a rough day with one of the kids, my husband walked in the kitchen where I happened to be shoveling BBQ chips in my mouth.

I told him… “I want you to know, I’m fully aware that I’m emotionally eating right now!” Now that is kinda funny… but for me… saying it out loud and seeing it…gave me some power. ( I didn’t eat the bag… I really had a couple handfuls and put them away… I started thinking of what I was doing)

As I’ve moved along, I have become more aware of eating mindfully. I think for a lot of people, that is a key element missing in their quest to lose weight and get fit.

What does that mean? or look like?

Think about what you’re eating.

Are you hungry? Do you need it ?

If you are (hungry) learn to eat slowly and savor what you are eating. The slower you eat the more satisfied you’ll feel.

Think about your meals… what do you need? Plan tasty and healthy options that you enjoy.

Be aware of how much you eat. The majority of people greatly over estimate portion sizes often eating two-three servings. These extra calories in a day all add up to weight gain.

Think about your snacks. Be mindful of how they support your goals of losing weight and getting healthy.

One example for me is, walking into a gas station. I went in to grab a bottle of water the other day and looking around I thought “there is almost nothing in here I should eat”.

I’ve become “mindful” of my eating habits. It’s a good change to make. I’ve learned to look at foods and mindfully determine if it’s what I need.

I’m mindful when I make food selections and portions.

Gaining control in our lives with food will require intentional thinking and readjusting of habits ( in the beginning) in time though, being mindful of how you eat, why, and what, will all be new healthy habits for you =)


Lifestyle Change And New Habits

Oh snap dragon.

Before I launch into todays thoughts, I’ll do a quick update on my recovery run I mentioned in yesterdays post.

I did my own little 5k with the goal to go slow and easy and just enjoy the absolute thrill and joy of running again… to see how the heel felt and not push for anything heroic.

Is there anything better than feeling the road under your feet? Having the wind in your face? Getting all sweaty? Or hearing nothing but the sound of your breathing as you let your body do what it’s trained to do ?

I think not.

The cool, groovy, and overall awesome thing? the heel felt no better or worse than before the run. My plan is to alternate some easy runs with strength training and ease back into where I want to be.

Now… on with todays new stuff…..

An overarching theme I hear from people who are starting/want to start a lifestyle change is this… “there are so many things to consider, so many things to change!”

Yeah, I get it. The task can seem daunting, so daunting in fact, many people will give up before they really get started trying.

Making changes means building new habits, new behaviors, an overall rewiring of your brain and how you do things. It doesn’t happen overnight.

How I wish it was so easy! But if you don’t start somewhere, how are you gonna start ? So what if you flop and fail the first couple times ? I certainly did. So do many others.

Think of learning to ride a bike with no training wheels…. remember those lurching, wobbling attempts to keep your balance and not go careening into the bushes ? Worse yet, remember when you did ?

What did you do? Dragged that bike out and with the help of mom or dad, you got back on that thing again and you started over… and you kept at it till you were successful… till you could sail down the street like a demon with no hands.

Building new habits in our lives is a lot like that. You gotta keep after it, if you fall off, you get back up, and start again until it begins to feel natural to you.

It’s hard to let go of comfortable habits, especially when they are not so good health habits, many of which have been in place in our lives for a long time!

Instead of being overwhelmed at the prospect of thinking you must change everything all at once, why not make a list of things you want to change?

Be specific and most of all be honest and real with yourself. If you eat in front of the TV at night and know it’s a bad habit, put it down.

Make a list of “new” habits you want to build in your life.

Once you list habits you have in place and you want to change or add you can then focus on one at a time.

Wouldn’t it be way easier to attempt say, one a week ? Of course, if you’re an over achiever, you can always focus on more 😉

The goal of course, is to make slow steady changes that evolve into a “lifestyle change”… something that is permanent and lasting.

Do you have any specific things you’ve done to build new habits in your life ?


Building New Habits

No, I didn’t get lost. Were you worried about me? 😉

I had this idea… but it was still in scattered pieces in my head and I wasn’t sure how to develop it till this morning… in the shower… it kinda came together. I know… most people sing in the shower…. more often for me it’s a time to run things through my head uninterrupted.. it’s also a place where my weakest moments are allowed out too.

The idea was talking to you about developing healthy habits, and for ALL of us, especially in the beginning it can be such a daunting, overwhelming idea that we can’t contend with… change… leaving behind or switching up everything that’s become all comfy to us. It’s not an easy task to accomplish. Dare I say we can rebel against it, even knowing those changes are for our overall good and well being  ?

Then it crossed my mind while showering, how change and developing new habits and behaviors are much like marathon training. If you’ve trained for one, then you know, you know how that training carries over into other aspects of your life. It’s become natural for me to look at taking things on in my life like I do training for a 26.2 mile race.

That training involves a huge amount of discipline and sacrifice. Purposeful planning. Repetitive workouts.  A willingness to invest the time in running to allow my body time to change and adapt to the demands of high mileage. A complete understanding I cannot simply wake up one morning and  just take off to run that distance with no preparation (don’t…ever…do that).

No, to properly train my body for the marathon it involves slow gradual changes moving towards my ultimate goal.  Smaller short weekly runs, long weekend runs becoming longer, small steps towards the bigger prize. It takes months of training to do it successfully ( I believe).

Developing new habits and behaviors are like that too. If you wake up on Monday with the determination that “Now is the time!” and you make a drastic immediate reduction of all food, hack out everything you love, and decide to go run 5 miles even though you haven’t done more than walk from the closest parking spot at the store to inside, I can guarantee Tuesday you’ll wake up starving, frustrated and having your body threatening divorce because you physically taxed it beyond what it was capable of doing and you hurt in places you didn’t know you owned.

A smarter approach is being willing to make small, gradual, and daily, changes to what you are doing. Focus on the day at hand, not the week, or months out.

Stop looking for instant gratification because weight loss and body change take consistent and dedicated time.

For me, 7 years out, I can tell you my body is vastly different today than when I started. It takes time… but hey… what else am I doing anyway? Or you? what else are you doing?

Some suggestions:

⇒ Focus on one day at a time.

⇒ Have a longer term goal in mind too.

⇒Don’t eliminate all foods and eat lettuce. Practice eating smaller portions as a start.

⇒ Consider how and what you eat. What changes do you need to make? Keep a food log to help remind and guide you.

⇒Decide on a physical activity you can start slowly with, especially if you have not doing anything in a long time.

⇒Stay away from an “all or nothing ” approach.

⇒Schedule your exercise commitments.

Consider the definition of habit :   an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary:

Most of all understand that developing new habits does take time and consistency….. I’ve heard up to 3 weeks on a daily basis to form a new habit.  It will require a willful choice on your part each day to do these things until it begins to feel more normal to you. That’s what a habit becomes…something that feels normal and natural in your day until it gets to the point you can’t imagine not doing it.

Note: in the beginning…. it probably will feel like work. Just press on taking those smaller measureable steps.

Following this pattern day after day will allow you to shape and define new ways of eating, exercising and making positive life changing choices 🙂


Cookie Cutter Diets Part 1


As I shared with you in another post, one of the questions I get from seeking people is :

What do you eat?

They know I’ve been on this journey for a few years now and they are wondering what “formula” I use and would that be successful to help them achieve their fitness/health goals.

Overall, I think I eat fairly well, but will freely admit I haven’t “arrived” in a perfect nutritional way ( I still like my occasional treats 😉

I don’ t micro manage macros and micros and obsess over every single calorie. Personally, I find that really freeing, but it is a process I’ve learned for myself these past few years.

Now keep in mind, I certainly wouldn’t be offering them a horrible food plan. In fact, it would (overall)  probably be very beneficial to them. I have enough knowledge to help them figure out basic daily calorie needs and how to operate within that structure.

But here’s the deal. Just because what I’m doing works for me…. doesn’t mean it will work for every person who approaches me. I’ve really developed my own thing over time that allows me to live my life, and do my athletic(y) stuff too. I’ve gotten a pretty good balance of how much food I need to lose or maintain my weight and operate in those boundaries.

You know what that’s called? Sustainable.

I’ve worked out a healthier way of eating and living that is easy enough for me to keep at day in and day out. It allows me to eat overall healthy 90-95% of the time and still lets me have some of my fav treats when I want them ( like those Peanut M&M’s 😉 and I’ll tell you, the less you eat it, the less you want it. Your tastes really do start changing with a healthier diet.

As far as nutritionally from an athletic stand point, I’ve really had to teach/train myself more to take in adequate food for training because my needs really can vary day to day. Obviously, doing a 20+ mile run will require more than a 4 mile run. It really becomes a matter of learning to fine tune what each days needs are. And I’m pretty sure, you, my lovely reader, are no different.

So what would tips/suggestions or helpful advice would I offer up to someone asking ?

First, let’s start with this.  It’s important to really know and understand your goals. What are you wanting to achieve ? Have something clearly defined… write it down or post it where you can see it.

Is it primarily weight loss with the goal to improve your lab results? to lose fat, lower blood pressure, prevent disease, to have more energy, less aches and pains, and better quality of life ? To just… move better ?

Do you have a specific athletic goal in mind ? Training for a 5k, or maybe a longer race? Maybe you want to learn to run. It could be cycling or maybe a triathlon. It could be you’re wanting to get stronger, build some muscles.  Perhaps it’s just to get out and walk for a couple miles and not be out of breath doing it… or hurting and exhausted.

You might be at a place where your weight is managed but maybe you’re wanting to focus more on building and defining what you currently have. More aesthetics. You could be highly motivated and want to do figure competition.

Defining your goals are very important to help identify where you want to go before you just jump into a standard 1200 calorie per day diet ( please, please don’t do that.. we’ll talk more on that later)

There’s a reason I titled this  Cookie Cutter Diets our nutritional needs are not all alike! And depending on what our lives involve, those needs can change day to day.

I believe one of the keys to success is not just jumping into a horribly restrictive food plan, cutting out all things you love, and hoping to grind it out for maybe 2 weeks, getting frustrated you don’t see instant results, and then **with a sigh of relief** at the end of those weeks, you go back to what you know and what you’ve been comfortable in.

Once again you…. abandon your weight loss attempts and determine it’s to hard and you’ll never accomplish it.

BUT, if you make small gradual changes, and add slow and steady exercise that doesn’t kill you on day one, your chances of success greatly increase.

Now, you’re job is to determine what you want and how to go after it.

That’s your homework.

Think on it, and come back for the next part where we figure out what kind of calories you really DO need each day to reach your goals, and sustain them.