Hello and Welcome to Running Over the Hill!

Why did I choose to call my blog Running Over the Hill? Well, this is a health and fitness blog, for starters and I love to run as my main form of exercise. Secondly I am in my 40s (45 to be exact), so my focus is on how to stay healthy even though I’m middle-aged (aka “over the hill”). And finally, hills are my nemesis, especially on a long run. But truth be told hills are where the growth happens. My goal for this blog is to have conversations about health and fitness topics, trends, issues, and tips. I’ll post weekly and I welcome and embrace feedback with a big ol’ virtual bear hug.

I’m excited to start so let’s jump right into my first post topic. It’s something I’ve had on my mind for a long time. Attitudes.

The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.   Anonymous

No health and fitness routine or diet (or life) will be successful without the right attitude. Health and fitness is 99% mental, people! I just made up that statistic. I honestly don’t know the percentage, but I know your body won’t go where your mind won’t take it.

What do I mean exactly? Well, let’s start with a positive attitude. Easier said than done, believe me. I struggle with this one on the daily:

“I don’t want to work out today.”

“I’m never going to lose this weight.”

“Ugh, look at those wrinkles! I look so old!”

“Is my ass always this huge?”

And on and on it goes.

What would happen if your friend said those things about herself to you? How would you feel? What would you say to her?

Would you commiserate?  Would you silently agree in judgment? Or would you speak up and call it out?

My dear friend, you are a beautiful person inside and out. No one cares what size pants you wear except you.

As sisters and brothers in this youth-obsessed society it’s impossible not to buy into this idea of what we are supposed to look like. And that makes it so easy to judge each other and ourselves. That’s just the truth. Look at any magazine. Open Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Do you compare yourself to the people you see? I do and sometimes I feel like I’m coming up short.  It’s enough to make me take to my bed for the next fortnight.

But no! I won’t succumb to this body-shaming culture we currently have. I want to change the conversation and I’m so glad to see some push-back on this issue out in Media Land. Finally we women are looking at these impossible standards and saying “Oh eff that!” And that’s huge. As a woman, firstly, and a school counselor with adolescents secondly, I know how badly we need to change this conversation. Girls and boys alike are developing self esteem and body image issues partly due to growing up being marketed to with this subtext that women are supposed to be sexy and photo shopped and skinny, and men are supposed to be tough and sexy. That’s not reality! Those images aren’t real! The people in those photographs don’t even look like that IRL.

How about when you hear someone at the gym talk about how sick she is to be “stuck in the 150s” or that she “only” lost 2.5 pounds last week or that he “only ran an 8 minute mile” or “Ooh I was so bad today. I ate a cupcake!” Or what if you said something very similar just the other day yourself? Is that negative attitude helping to move forward? No, of course not. The focus is on the wrong thing.

Turn it around: My weight is healthy. I lost weight last week. I ran an 8 minute mile and that makes me a hot shit! I ate a cupcake today and it was delicious. Because I can guarantee you there is someone in your near vicinity who wishes they could be or do what you are currently crapping all over. So be careful with your words because they have the ability to harm or to heal.

Attitude is everything. It determines what I say to myself. Am I bringing myself down or lifting myself up? It determines what I choose to focus on – the victory or the defeat. The positive or the negative. And I’ve learned from experience that negative thinking gets you a negative life. Plus it’s exhausting. You have no energy for your goals if you’re using all your energy being down on yourself.

Are you “good” or “bad” depending on what you ate or how much/little you exercised today? Absolutely unequivocally not! It’s just food. It’s just exercise. It doesn’t have any other inherent qualities. It definitely doesn’t define you as being “good” or “bad” depending on what you ate or how much/little you exercised. But your thoughts do.

So for those of us with fitness goals, what are you saying to yourself? Are you a Sally Sunshine or a Debbie Downer? And what are you saying about yourself to others? Are you downplaying your achievements? Are you focusing on how much weight you still have to lose or how you can “only” run a mile (or a minute or not at all)? Turn it around. Focus on what you’ve done and what you can do, and what you’re working on. You’re building something amazing here. There’s no room for a negative attitude. Let it motivate and drive you to bigger and better things.

In case I haven’t made it clear: what you’re going to see here is positive talk and a positive outlook. Does it come naturally to me? Not always, but I’m cultivating the habit because it is crucial to success. I invite you to try it. Pay attention to what you say to yourself or about yourself. Pay attention to what other people say. If it’s negative, turn it around. There is always something positive in every situation if we look hard enough. We have to train our brains and our bodies will follow.

So it’s with this mindset, this attitude, that I begin this new venture. This is a place for like-minded people. I welcome you to come here for inspiration, accountability, and maybe a swift kick in the arse as necessary (and sometimes it is!)

I’m cheering for you!