No 5K Friday

In keeping with the Zero Week training plan I skipped a run this morning and opted for a morning yoga session. I only go to Level 1 classes right now, so it’s more of a stretch session than a work out, but it’s the only way I’ll a.) ever stretch and b.) actually coax myself to go to yoga.

Pre-yoga fuel to go: Smoothie and PB&PB.IMG_2547

After yoga I went to Trader Joe’s. They are in the same complex, along with a Yogurtland and numerous other locations that melt my heart. Orange County is pretty nice 😉

Anyways, I found a ton of new amazing foods! One of which is the illusive Larabar I’ve been searching for…I ate one of these in the car on the way home. Oops.IMG_2548

And Pumpkin Cream Cheese! I tried this on some bread when I got home. Yes, it’s amazing. IMG_2549 Not going to lie my reaction to this pumpkin cream cheese was wildly inappropriate and involved fantasies that I’d rather not discuss. Anyone else picturing how our love children would look? IMG_2551

I recently received this question from a reader and thought I’d share my answer:

Hi Monica!
I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, and thought that you might be the best blogger to weigh in on my question.
I run and race as a hobby (just ran a 10K today! I have giant blisters now though.) I’m not very fast, and I didn’t start exercising at all until 3 years ago, when I took up running. I’m also a total foodie – I love the process of picking out recipes, grocery shopping, cooking, and sharing food.
My family, though, doesn’t seem to get it. My sisters have both asked recently if I have an eating or exercise disorder based on a.) that I love sharing recipes and talk about food a lot and b.) I have a set training schedule for running and bring my shoes when I go visit. I do take days off frequently! I only run about 4 times a week. They aren’t very athletic or active, so it seems weird and controlling to them that I’m so particular about when/how far I run and even what I eat beforehand
I feel balanced and healthy. I’m wondering if you have any advice for showing them that it’s okay to love both exercise and food and even normal for a lot of people? I’m thinking of training for a marathon (Boston! My university has a charity team, so I can be super slow and run my 10 minute miles lol!) but I’m afraid that they’ll think that the long runs and routine/schedule required for training are proof of a disorder.

First off, if you truly feel balanced and happy then, own it and don’t let anyone make you second guess your lifestyle.

The beauty of being an adult is you don’t have to answer to anyone any more. You can choose to eat ice cream for dinner, or oatmeal or both! You can choose to sleep in until noon on the weekends or get up at 6am for a run. You should do what you want.

When people give you crap about running or eating a certain way have a canned response ready like, “I really love running now, it’s fun and makes me feel good. What’s wrong with that?”

Or since it seems they think your running is excessive, educate your family on how much training is required to get ready for a race. Some people run 7 days a week – let them know you are only doing 4 so that you “don’t over do it”. This might let them know you’re not getting too extreme.

My family and friends don’t really “get” my obsession with running or food. But, when they tell me something I make it clear that I am happy this way and will not be swayed (I can be kind of a bitch about it so you might want to take a lighter approach, but make sure the message is relayed).

At first is it was super weird to my family. I turned vegetarian. What?! And I started walking to lose weight. Hmmm…

Then, I started running. I’m sure they thought, “Who is this girl and why is she always running?” But, they eventually got used to it and truly accept me for who I am. Now my family comes out and supports me at races and I’m so happy they understand my love for running even if they don’t share in that passion. IMG_2406

Keep doing what you’re doing. Live a balanced life. Make yourself happy. The people who love you will see you’re happy and be supportive :)

I think inviting your family to a race might be super helpful too. It’s always eye opening to people who don’t run to see runners and walkers of all ages, weights and abilities in a race. It‘s all different kinds of people trying to get active and be healthy.

As a side note: If more than one person, on more than one occasion has insinuated you have an eating disorder you should take a good, honest look and consider if it might be true. Talking to a professional doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, but could be a good second opinion :)

Q: Anyone else want to chime in? How do you deal with it when family or friends give you a hard time about your eating or exercise habits?


  1. says

    I agree with all of the above! I think if you are happy then continue what you’re doing but getting a “2nd opinion” doesn’t hurt. Sometimes it’s reassurance you need from that second opinion to really make you understand that what you’re doing is right. Inviting family to participate is also fun, if you’re in an area that has good weather maybe invite them out for a long walk in a park. You can talk to them about how you started running and maybe they’ll get that the walk they took is how you once started and there’s nothing abnormal about that. Good luck!

  2. says

    My family is similar in some ways. I’m not a runner, but they can be critical of my food choices. Just remember that it’s likely your family’s opinions are coming from a place of concern, as well! If they are worried about you, that’s why they’re asking. I agree that inviting them to a race could be really helpful- seeing all the hype and excitement can show them why you do it :-)

  3. says

    I’m dealing with this exacty same situation, except even worse because I DID have an eating disorder in the past. Now that I have a blog, love to cook with “weird healthy” foods, and train for races, people start to wonder if I still have some sort of problem.

    While I admit that I do not by any means have a perfect relationship with food, I have found the best way to combat the comments and looks is definitely to OWN IT. One major help was having a blog. By letting them see what I eat and read my personal experiences with both healthy and unhealthy lifestyles, they can see why it is so important to me.

    As long as you are a healthy weight and aren’t obsessing in an extremely prohibitive manner, don’t worry about what they say! Maybe let them try some “healthy” meals or desserts you make, or have them go to a race to cheer you on!

  4. says

    I’ll chime in.

    Some people will always embrace running, eating healthy, and athletic activity. Some people never will. Most of my friends (who also work out and try to stay fit) are pretty cool with it and most of my family is too. My parents were a little freaked out when I started running 10Ks, and yeah, they worried a bit (I was 23/24, I’m 25 now). But now- even my parents are supportive of it because they know it’s what I like to do and that the races I do, the proceeds go to good causes.

    As far as the eating disorder thing, I’ve definitely been accused of that. For one thing, I’m really small anyway, and I told her I worked out 5-6 times a week and ran a lot. I’ve since found another doctor. My roommate also thought that I had an eating or exercise disorder of some sort, but I think some of that may have been caused by the fact that she’s struggled with her weight and self-esteem- and that could also be the case for your sisters. If people haven’t done races like 5Ks or 10Ks- how do they know how much fun it is and that we’re not doing it because we’re ‘disordered’ but because running is healthy and a great way to have fun and meet new people too!

    But honestly- one thing it really taught me is that you never can look at stereotypes. Lots of people who have disorders like that NEVER work out- they restrict food. Probably 99% of people who work out are doing it the healthy way and even if they are trying to lose some weight, aren’t drastic about it. People tend to look at extremes like that, but we’re all in it together to be healthy.

    Amy L.

  5. says

    First of all, Monica, Pumpkin Cream cheese rocks – I keep getting samples at TJ’s with their graham crackers but I can’t bring myself to bring it home for fear of eating the whole thing.

    To your reader: It is important to know what you enjoy doing and what you are doing it for. I am super addictive when it comes to anything. Running has taught me to balance – my body will just stop when I am done. I have just recently come to love running and training for races. I am slow too. The goal of having a race to train for keeps me from obsessing over my weight and becoming unhealthy. I focus more on my goal and everything else is falling into place. If this lifestyle is what is making you happy and you know you are balanced then (forgive me) screw anyone who tells you otherwise. You may just be making them feel guilty about not living healthfully. Be candid when you talk to them – and let them know what running and food mean to you – compare it to something they love. Relating will help them understand. If not – oh well – be who you are.

    • says

      It’s seasonal so you have to break down and get it at least once!

      And thank you. I should have used the word “candid” instead of bitch, but that’s the truth.

  6. says

    My dad once told me that I needed to take care of myself first. When you have kids, a career, and then stuff happens and all of a sudden work outs fall by the wayside. But he stressed that doing those things for myself (swimming, running) will make me a better person, a better (future) spouse, a better (future) mom.

    Make time for healthy habits!

  7. says

    I totally agree with your response there. I know when I first started running my family was really surprised, but they’ve really embraced it as I’ve moved on. Occasionally, it’s odd when I whip out my running shoes when I’m in town for a visit or whatnot, but I think overall the fact that they know that I’m doing something healthy makes them really proud. Honestly, just stick up for what is best for you, and what makes you happy. When you find something you love, sometimes that’s all that matters.

  8. says

    My friends think I am a nut for how much I run and how much I like to cook. I told them to just get used to it!

    My parents have finally accepted it:) Took them 3 years!

  9. says

    My family leaves me alone for the most part, but occasionally my dad chimes in that “i’m too thin” *I’m not* or “You need to eat more.” I just ignore his comments because I know none of them are meant to be harmful, only helpful.

  10. says

    I totally agree with your answers! I just had a friend who went through the same thing. Her family was giving her a hard time because she recently got her Zumba certification and has begun to teach at our gym. They told her she spends all of her time at the gym now and doesn’t have any time for anything else, when really, she needed more money to raise her children, so she turned to her passion, worked hard to become certified, and now gets paid to do what she loves. I’d say that is not neglectful, that is brilliant! :)

  11. Laura says

    Thank you!! (I’m the reader.) I really appreciate your comments and ideas. I’m definitely inviting my family to a race soon – maybe I can find a good Turkey Trot? Also, I did talk to a professional who says I’m fine – my habits are healthy, and I just have a loving but overly worried family :)

    That pumpkin cream cheese looks fab! I’m in full autumnal food mode right now with the pumpkins and apples and squash.

  12. says

    great post! to quote my friend “i live my life like i have a pair of balls” aka don’t take anything from anyone :)

    and i love your advice too. none of my friends or family get why i love running but a few of them came to my last marathon and, while they still don’t really get it, they can see that i’m not the only crazy person out there

  13. says

    My family can be very critical of my healthy eating also. They mention that life is too short to pay so much attention to what you eat, etc. I just don’t pay them any attention and eventually, they have gotten used to the way that I am. I am happy about it and like you said, I am an adult. I think this person should keep up their healthy habits and don’t worry about having to defend themselves all the time. One thing I have learned is that people are scared of change. So if you suddenly change the “status quo”, people will think they have to change too and they get scared. Kepp up the great work though!

  14. says

    Hi Monica
    I like your blog, really nice! Haven’t commented before, so here I am saying Hi!
    I love trader joes too! Haven’t tried the pumpkin cream cheese, but love their almond butter and frozen mango chunks – among many other yummy things.
    The question your reader posed is really interesting. I also love food and I try my best to take good care of myself. I don’t run, but I exercise and do yoga, and I also have always been on the smallish side.
    In my case my family definitely don’t get my love and passion for healthy eating. It’s been a struggle for quite some time to deal with them. I do live far from my mom and dad (different countries), but every year when I went to visit it was torture. They don’t see the deal that the way you eat has a lot to do on the way you feel. If they eat bad stuff and have a health problem then they will take medicine to deal with it. Not me though. I am very healthy conscious. It took me a good deal of time trying to show them that this is how and who I am. I have been accused to have some sort of eating disorder too, just because I refused to eat margarine and other crappy foods loaded with trans fats and added sugars.
    Sorry but I am not going to change, they can eat whatever they like, but I will keep on going with the healthy foods that I like and make me feel good.
    Today I am 31, I am doing a masters degree in nutrition (finally! always wanted to work with this), and even though my family say they support me and “understand” me a little more, I still feel they quite don’t get me yet, and I actually believe they never will.
    I do my best to show them why I try to be so healthy and how good it makes me feel. It is not easy, as when it comes to family you always want to please your parents, but sometimes they need to learn that you are who you are, you are unique and they need to learn to accept that.
    It takes a bit of work from both parts, but it can be done – slowly, but ultimately it will show off that you are doing the right thing for yourself.
    Just be yourself, because when you are happy and feeling good every one will notice and all will be good!

  15. says

    I find it helps to remember that many times comments like those come from people who are insecure with their own bodies or lifestyle choices, and when they see someone not only making healthy choices but having fun doing it, it’s almost like a threat because it’s clearly so doable but still overwhelming to begin. I get plenty of comments on my choice of food and exercise but when I try to keep this in mind it helps.

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