I’d love to lie to you and tell you I love winter – that I’m a “glass half full” kind of girl who can find the silver lining to the ninety thousand snow storms we’ve had this winter. But I can’t. I can’t even pretend to like anything about cold weather, the grey skies and the fact that going outside now means I’m sporting gear worn by Dennis Quaid in The Day After Tomorrow. I’ve pretty much quit winter. Given up. Stopped watching Jamie Simpson on WHIO tell me we’re going to have another “polar vortex.” Gone on strike. Done.
So, in an attempt to wish myself into an early spring and warmer temperatures, I’ve started planning ahead to my favorite part of the year: race season. I’m not ashamed to admit that this winter has definitely had an impact on my waistline. I think it’s safe to say that everyone has a little cabin fever lately, and we’re all aching to get outdoors. Soon enough, we’ll be dusting off those gym shoes (oh, is it just me whose been a little lazy on those resolutions?), and peeking outside like bears coming out of hibernation.
I can’t promise spring will come any sooner, but I can guarantee you that there are some pretty awesome races this spring worth getting off the couch for. Here are the races worth checking out this spring:
The Big Hoopla 4-miler
When: Sunday, March 16
Why it’s awesome: This is the ultimate area fun-run for the basketball lover. Held on Selection Sunday, the race kicks off the March Madness mayhem we’ve all come to love. Dayton hosts the NCAA First Four games, making this race an excellent excuse to pull that basketball lover in your life off the couch and right into the action.
When: March 22,
Why it’s awesome: Harrigans generously donates 100% of event proceeds to four different charities. And for the runners? St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t end after the green beer runs out on March 17. After a quick 3.1 miles on a fairly flat neighborhood course, runners pack into Harrigans for early morning beers. Why? Because running validates drinking before noon, of course.
Run For The Health Of It
When: April 12
Why it’s awesome: Join the Junior League of Dayton at this chip-timed 5k or 10k event that starts downtown at RiverScape. Stick around after the race – in conjunction with the Children’s Medical Center of Dayton, the Junior League of Dayton will run informative healthy lifestyle stations sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
When: April 27
Why it’s awesome: Panera’s race proceeds go towards The Children’s Hunger Alliance. The course winds through Centerville’s flat neighborhoods, and the Panerathon boasts some of the best post-race eats around. Panera pastries and sandwiches are in abundance at the finish line.
When: May 10
Why it’s awesome: This pet-friendly event boasts lots of four-legged running companions at its 5k and 1 mile walk benefiting the animals at the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. Local vendors flock to this event, now in its 23rd year, so be sure to stick around and check them out!
There are tons of charities and organizations out there worth lacing up those tennis shoes for – not to mention the fact that getting outdoors and moving your feet is just good for you. If it’s not one of these fine races, find something that inspires you and challenge yourself to run for it. In the meantime, keep dreaming of warmer temperatures, more green and less grey, and for the day the Elsa’s patio opens for spring.
Let’s face it – like it or not, the holidays are quickly approaching. Malls nationwide have had their Christmas decor out for months now, and grocery store meat departments are being inundated with frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving. Soon enough, we’ll be faced with holiday dinners for the office, ugly sweater parties (which are basically just an excuse to get a keg – something you’re never too old for), and Mom’s infamous chocolate snowflake cookies. By the time we get around to kicking off those New Year’s resolutions, we’ll have the added guilt of holiday weight gain to tack on to those pounds we already vow to lose starting in January. But what if we took the steps now to keep the holiday weight gain at bay? It’s totally possible to survive the holidays without gaining weight, and it’s even possible to lose weight during all the festivities. How? Well, start by following these tips:
Make an event calendar. Start by listing all your planned holiday events on a calendar. Include work parties, holiday parties and any other pre-planned events that will involve food and alcohol. If you look at it on the calendar, chances are, it’s not as bad as you thought. On my personal calendar, I’ve got four parties over the next month and a half, plus celebrations on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. That’s what? Eight days? Eight days. A visual breakdown of your events is a helpful reminder that you don’t have to throw your diet out the window for an entire month just because the holidays seem packed full of food-driven events. Enjoy those pre-planned events, and make it a point to eat mindfully the rest of the time.
Compensate. If you know you’re going to indulge (okay, maybe binge eat cookies like you’re auditioning for the next Cookie Monster), compensate with some exercise or healthy choices made previously that day. Knowing you’re going to have a big dinner or dessert should be motivation to eat light early in the day or hit the treadmill to “earn” those indulgences.
Bring a dish. If you’re heading to a holiday party at someone’s house this year, offer to bring a dish or two to share. Food bloggers like Skinnytaste and Emily Bites offer delicious healthy alternatives to some of your favorite holiday dishes, and by doing this, you can guarantee you’ll have something healthy to snack on while you’re there.
Pack a snack. Fighting the crowds at the malls during the holidays is exhausting. Chances are, you’re going to need a coffee break (since drinking wine while holiday shopping, albeit fun, is probably frowned upon) and a serious snack break to refuel before you tackle the crazies at Bath & Body Works. Instead of hitting the food court or snagging a greasy pretzel, pack a snack from home. KIND bars, a banana or some almonds are great ways to refuel without loading your body full of processed sugars and carbohydrates that will leave you passed out behind the discount DVD box at Target in a food coma.
Alcohol or food: pick one. Chances are, both food and alcohol will be in full force during most holiday celebrations. Instead of overloading on both, pick one indulgence. That doesn’t mean you get to binge drink or eat – just keep in mind that those syrupy shots and peppermint schnapps often have just as many calories in them as a plate of buffalo chicken dip. If you’d rather eat all your favorite goodies, go light on the alcohol that night. And if you’d rather drink your dinner (I’m not an advocate for this, but hey – it happens), fill up on something healthy beforehand so you’re not tempted to hover over the crockpot of BBQ weenies.
Find alternative ways to celebrate. Our society is incredibly food-driven, and we’re taught to celebrate with food from an early age. But we don’t have to. Make it a point to organize an event that doesn’t center around eating sugar-laden goodies. Check out Woodland Lights in Centerville and indulge in a cup of hot chocolate to keep warm. Go ice skating at RiverScape and actually burn calories without sacrificing on fun. Hit up Raise Your Brush to paint and drink wine – you’ll get to take home your painting at the end of the night without the added guilt of consuming the extra calories. Dayton has so much to offer and there’s no law that says we have to focus our holiday celebrations around food.
Commit to a fitness plan. In addition to just compensating for your eating choices with some extra exercise, commit to a fitness plan before the resolutioners come walking through the doors in January like deer in headlights. Give yourself the next month to get comfortable with your new gym (or reacquaint yourself if you haven’t gone in awhile) and establish a routine. Check out some new classes and get control over your fitness plan before the bulk of the holidays set in. Once you’re in an established routine, battling the holidays won’t seem as tough. You’ll also feel infinitely more confident come January when you’re already feeling like a rockstar and you can help motivate the “newbies” with resolutions.
It’s all about balance. Last year, I managed to lose weight over the holidays and I plan to make this year just as successful. Balancing real life with maintaining a healthy lifestyle is hard – and definitely more of a challenge when faced with all the temptations of the holidays. The best advice I can give anyone is to not wait until the first of the year to get control of your diet. The holidays are jammed full of impromptu happy hours, reunions with out-of-town friends and celebrating with friends and family. Feeling in control of your diet now will give you confidence to make healthy choices when faced with spur of the moment events. Throwing caution to the wind during the holidays doesn’t change the fact that you’re still overeating and not compensating with exercise. Your body will know the difference, even if you choose not to mentally acknowledge it. Make a decision to be actively engaged with your food and exercise choices this year, and you won’t be looking at the scale in horror come January.
Grab your pet and prepare to set sail with the Humane Society of Greater Dayton! On November 9, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton will host its annual Pet Afflaire, a fun, formal, pet-friendly event held at the Presidential Banquet Center, 4548 Presidential Way in Dayton.
This year’s theme is sure to please both pets and diners – the room will be transformed into a cruise ship experience for dinner, cocktails and plenty of pet appetizers for your four-legged friends. In keeping with the theme, the Humane Society, along with Holland America Line and Huffman Travel, will raffle off a 7-day cruise for two to either Mexico or the Caribbean. In addition, attendees can participate in the live and silent auctions.
Reservations can still be made by contacting the Humane Society at (937) 262-5920, and patrons even have the option of buying an entire table for “table patron” status. Can’t make it to the event but still want to help out? Donations can be made through the Humane Society’s web site. So, let’s do a recap. Why should you set sail with the Humane Society of Greater Dayton and the S.S. Pet Afflaire on November 9?
– A fun, pet-friendly event that boasts hundreds of guests and their four-legged friends
– A chance to win a 7-day cruise for two, amongst several other awesome prizes
– Dinner, cocktails and plenty of entertainment provided for patrons and pets
– Proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Greater Dayton and help find loving homes for animals in the community
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Humane Society of Greater Dayton web site at www.hsdayton.org.
If you’ve perused Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram lately, you’re probably no stranger to the healthy living fad that seems to be popping up all over the place. Lately, it seems like everyone is proudly posting their Nike+ runs to Facebook and sharing their healthy recipes on Instagram (complete with the appropriate filter to make average-looking food seem high class, of course). It’s honestly kind of fantastic. In a society where obesity is becoming the norm, it’s refreshing to see a new demographic changing the standard and raising the bar for how we treat our bodies. It’s amazing to see the transformations people are capable of, and we should absolutely be inspired by it. That being said, if you’re interested in losing weight or adopting a healthier lifestyle, all of this can seem like information overload. Where do I start? What do I eat? How should I workout? Fret not, friends. I’ve broken it down for you as best I can, into what I think are the best tips for starting the journey towards a new, healthier you (sorry, that’s super tacky – but it’s true).
Write down your goals. Are you interested in losing weight or dropping a pant size? You’ll quickly find out those two don’t always go hand in hand. Are you interested in building strength? Eating better? Feeling better? Ideally, if you want a healthy lifestyle to stick, the latter should be the first goal on your list. Whatever your goals may be, write them down. Do it. Now. Pull out the pen and paper. You’ll need them written down so that in three months, when you curse yourself for signing up for this, you can remind yourself of why you started.
Tackle food little by little. A total pantry makeover is a grand idea on paper, but isn’t realistic when starting something new. Start with little goals that are easier to accomplish instead of expecting your body to adjust to a complete change in diet. Are you a fast food fiend at lunchtime? Vow to pack your lunch every day this week. Replace your normal afternoon bag of chips with an apple. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your healthy habits won’t be either.
Run, walk, dance, lift, bike and yoga. Ok, so maybe not all of those. But be willing to try more than one form of activity until you find one that you like. There are always going to be days you’d rather not go to the gym, but for the most part, you should get some kind of enjoyment out of the activity you’re doing. Running isn’t for everyone, and neither is yoga. It doesn’t matter how you get active, just get active.
Tell someone. The only thing harder than losing weight is doing it alone. “Going public” with your weight loss and health plans is often hard to do, but totally worth it. The support system you gain from friends and family, not to mention the accountability of people wanting to see you succeed, is limitless once you’re willing to open up about your goals. Vocalizing them is important, and you’ll probably find a new gym buddy in the process.
Be inspired. Over and over again. It is your job to motivate yourself. Don’t expect anyone else to hold your hand. Do what you need to do to feel inspired – Google before and after pictures, make a motivational board on Pinterest, post those goals you wrote down to the front of your refrigerator to keep you from snacking. Do it over and over again, as needed. Repeat.
Set yourself up for success. Be realistic. Be smart. Don’t try to wake up on your very first day and eat “clean,” run 5 miles, get a strength training session in and still find time to bake cookies for your kids and fold the laundry. It’s not going to happen. Unless you’re a super hero, in which case, we should chat. Set small, attainable goals you know you can reach. Once you build the habit, you’ll feel confident and in control – and that is the golden combination for building better habits upon better habits.
It’s not rocket science, but it is hard. I know, how should I know? Because I’m a professional weight-loser, of course. I struggle to find balance each and every day, but I’ve lost 70 pounds and I’m not stopping yet. Stick around, friends. Because I promise you to inundate you with the information, motivation and general kick-in-the-pants you need to succeed.