One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Ask Roni: Getting Over It

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This is a long one…

Hi Roni: I am a long-time reader (since about your first year of maintenance), and an honest-to-goodness fan. My question may come off as offensive, but I want you to know that I respect you and value your opinions. Here is my question:

Do you think it is healthy to dedicate so much life and energy to your health? At what point is it a “waste” of productivity, love and life to devote so much of yourself to healthy living?

If you are still reading, some background. I direct these questions at “you” but could also direct these issues at myself or someone abstract.  I also want to make clear that I believe that healthy living is extremely important, especially for parents modeling behavior for their children and hoping to be productive citizens and parents (and grandparents!).

Here is the thing: as someone who has struggled with weight, largely “winning” the struggle with reasonable eating and exercise, I view vigilant healthy habits as largely personal: they mostly only impact ME, how I feel about myself, and maybe add a few years of mobility to my life. My healthy habits also positively impact my kids, but not in an earth-shattering way — certainly far less than my love, stability and ability to provide shelter and life support.

My main contribution to this world is to raise great kids and to work hard at my profession and volunteer activities. I don’t want to waste too much of my time on this earth at the gym. I don’t want to waste my time at a “girls night out” talking about my thighs. But I sometimes do, nonetheless!

In your case, I see you as a productive member of the world. Your work, your profession, contributes to many, many people’s days. But you spend a lot of time on your health. I think it is great that you have shifted your mindset from body image to mind-body health, but is it really all that different? Do you ever wish that you could be “casually” healthy and devote your boundless energy to something else?

Again, I mean this respectfully. I am pregnant with a baby girl (my first girl), and I want to raise her to do amazing things for this world if she wants to and has the ability. I would be sad for her if she spent as much time as I did in my teens and twenties thinking about her looks, and I would be sad for her if her drive to be healthy led to a career of thinking primarily about her own health.  This is what has stopped me from pursuing a career in nutrition or fitness — the idea that it is a waste for me to spend my life partly in pursuit of keeping myself accountable to health and — let’s face it — staying slim.

In many ways, you have hit the sweet spot: your profession and your life goals are very much in line, you are successful, and most importantly, you positively contribute to the world.  But sometimes, sometimes,  I feel sad for you and for us (the world) that all of your talents are spent on health. What if you were a teacher, or worked to improve health policies or worked with young professionals to develop a web presence? The sky would be the limit for you and for us (the world).

Anyway, this email is evidence that I probably think about this stuff too much.  Back to work, right? I hope this came off respectfully. I’d really love to hear your thoughts about finding the balance between all of this stuff, physical and mental, and just “getting on with it” and living our lives. And I want you to know that I think you really have accomplished amazing things outside of your own weight loss: you are living your life and impacting others.

I hope to be reading your blog for many more years.

Best, Robin

Hi Robin!

I don’t think your email could have come at a better time. It’s like we are on the same page as I feel I have “gotten over it” recently. Let me answer you paragraph by paragraph so I don’t miss anything.

First, I’m never offended when someone expresses their opinion in a thoughtful, sensible way. It’s the lunatics who like to stir up drama who get under my skin but let’s save that for another post.

Now, do I think it’s healthy to dedicate so much life and energy to my health?

I guess it depends on your definition of “so much,” which I’ll get back to in a minute.

You say:

I view vigilant healthy habits as largely personal: they mostly only impact ME, how I feel about myself, and maybe add a few years of mobility to my life.

I couldn’t disagree more. Yes, they are personal, but I think they most certainly impact more than our individual selves. You may not think the impact on your kids is “earth-shattering” but it’s extremely important. You, through your actions, teach them more than words ever will and how you treat yourself, your body and your health directly impacts them and how they will learn to do the same. I’d also argue that the way you feel about yourself affects your kids and relationships the most. Sure, you don’t have to be in peak physical health to be a good parent and provide, but from stress to health, it makes it a lot easier to do so.

You also mention not wanting to waste time at the gym or complaining about your body. I totally agree on the body shaming with friends as being a useless time suck but wasting time at the gym? This circles back to how personal our health journeys really are. I, for one, LOVE my time at the gym. I wasn’t always that way but it has turned into my sanctuary, my sport, my hobby.  I have friends there and a social outlet I wouldn’t have otherwise (especially because I work at home.) That being said, the gym is not for everyone and I don’t think it has to be.

Let’s take my husband as an example. For starters he is definitely one who wastes NO time on “being healthy.” The man still drinks his weight in soda a day. His diet is mostly processed carbs eaten after 10 p.m. and he wouldn’t be caught dead with a gym membership. However, he plays tennis about 4 times a week (total about the same hours I spend at the gym). He comes home a sweaty mess and loves the game, the social aspect of it and the physical challenge.

Would you consider that a waste of his time?

For some people, going to the gym or running or hiking or weight lifting is the same thing.

People need hobbies and I’d argue at least some of the hobbies should be physical in nature. Our bodies were went to move. So when you say “wasting time at the gym” I feel like you are approaching exercise as a chore instead of finding a physical outlet you actually enjoy doing.

Yes, spending hours at the gym trying to sculpt a body does seem like a waste of time and energy to me but I can also see how others enjoy that as well.

I’ll fall back on my old standby of: To each their own.

I had to ponder your next question:

…you spend a lot of time on your health. I think it is great that you have shifted your mindset from body image to mind-body health, but is it really all that different? Do you ever wish that you could be “casually” healthy and devote your boundless energy to something else?

Do I spend a lot of time on my health? I’m not sure I agree. Let’s take the blogs out of the equation for a moment because I think they cloud things a bit. I work about 50-60 hours a week (depending on how busy I am with deadlines). That’s all computer stuff: prepping photos, writing, managing sites, event planning, sending out proposals, etc. Do I work too much? Probably, but I enjoy what I do. Again, I know it’s health related but let’s pretend it’s not for a minute.

I spend approximately 8 hours a week working out. That includes my current running schedule for marathon training (it will increase slightly as my runs get longer).

I sleep about 42 hours a week. That should be more if I was truly healthy but I’m not going there either.

I also spend some time grocery shopping for healthy food and try to cook more at home, but is that time spent on healthy living? I’d be doing those things anyway.

That leaves me, even on my busiest of weeks, say right before FitBloggin or when I was writing the book, with 58 hours left to do whatever I want like playing with the kids, hanging out with the husband, reading (HA! Never do it ) cleaning the house, etc. 

So if I had a “regular” job that wasn’t health related I’d say the time spend on “being healthy” is pretty minimal.

But my job is related to my health considering everything I do started because I decided to blog about my weight loss. A few years ago I spend a heck a lot more time on things like tracking my weight, keeping and posting food journals, taking photos of my progress, etc. I guess you can look at it like a waste of time but in a way I needed to do all those things to get me to where I am today. I like to think of all that time as “weight maintenance school.”  Now that I’ve “graduated” I not only have to spend less time working at my health but most of it is integrated into my daily life. I guess that’s what they mean by a lifestyle change.


Your next few questions perplexed me a bit:

I would be sad for [my daughter] if she spent as much time as I did in my teens and twenties thinking about her looks, and I would be sad for her if her drive to be healthy led to a career of thinking primarily about her own health.  This is what has stopped me from pursuing a career in nutrition or fitness — the idea that it is a waste for me to spend my life partly in pursuit of keeping myself accountable to health and, let’s face it, staying slim.

I agree with you on the worrying about our looks at a young age. I wish I could get that time back as well, but truth be told, I think it’s a natural part of maturing.  Even the most confident of kids has a thread of worry about the way they look. I’d be more concerned if how she felt  about herself prevented her from experiencing things, as it did for me.

As for being sad if her drive to be healthy led her to a career thinking about her own health, I’m not sure I follow you. If you are comparing her to me, I kind of get it but to be honest I don’t see my career path being defined by my own pursuit of health. I do what I do because I want to inspire and motivate others. That’s what drives me and I would like to think that’s what drives most people who have a career in nutrition or fitness.

Sure, it all started because of my personal pursuits but it wasn’t until I realized how much of what I was doing was affecting others that I decided to make a career out of it. And I do all the things you list. I am a teacher, I work with people to build web presences, I run a conference for others to inspire and help them spread a culture of health and wellness. I’m also working on a book to help people break out of the dieting cycle that I was in for so long because I get it. I was at that place for too long and I really want to help people break out.

Please, don’t feel sad for me. I get to do things I love (cook, take photos, share my life in a fun and creative way) and inspire people. I won the freakin’ lottery! And I do think the sky is the limit but, like you, right now my focus is on my kids and current projects. I mean, there are only so many hours in the day.

Finally you said:

 I’d really love to hear your thoughts about finding the balance between all of this stuff, physical and mental, and just “getting on with it” and living our lives.

I’ve been in the process of finding that balance for some time. It’s why I stopped weighing myself. It’s why I no longer keep a food journal or take progress photos. I don’t even wear my Fitbit like I used to.

I wake up every day, challenge myself at the gym, eat healthy foods (and lots of treats when I want,) play with my kids, travel when I can, spend time with my husband and work on things I hope have a positive affect on others. It took me 10 years to get to this point of just living healthy. There is no extra time devoted to it. It just is.

Even if I shut down all the blogs, closed the doors on FitBloggin’ and got a traditional job outside the home, I would still be striving to do what I do every day for me and my family.

I’m not sure if I answered you or went off on my own tangent. Your original question was:

Do you think it is healthy to dedicate so much life and energy to your health? At what point is it a “waste” of productivity, love and life to devote so much of yourself to healthy living?

Dedicating yourself to live a healthy life and spending the time to find balance for you is worth the investment. Nothing is a waste of time (love and life) if it brings you joy and helps you grow.

Bottom line, I don’t think it’s about getting over it. It’s about incorporating it in so it doesn’t feel like work. 

Thanks for letting me explore all these thoughts with you, and I hope what I shared makes some sense.

— Roni

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There are 46 comments so far.

    Julie K

    August 6, 2014

    I agree that it’s important to find a balance. I think that if it gets to a point where someone gets upset about family time getting in the way of a workout it’s time for them to adjust their priorities.


      August 7, 2014

      TOTALLY agree! Non-obsessivly determined is what I call it. We actually have a chapter on this int he #wycwyc book!


    August 6, 2014

    Great responses Roni, except for that hypothetical about shutting down Fitbloggin – don’t even go there! When I was struggling with my weight and disordered eating, one of the things that helped me realize how un-healthy I was was the amount of time and energy I spent worrying about calories – no matter what else I did that day, it all came down to those numbers. Now, I spend the same amount of time as ever working out (about 1 hr /day) and still fix healthy meals, but most of my mental energy is being spent elsewhere.


      August 7, 2014

      I feel most of my energy is elsewhere as well!

    Katie Norris

    August 6, 2014

    I admire your ability to answer this with such compassion. Well done.

    I will say that I do not understand the writers question. I do not think she has taken into consideration that there are people with major chronic illnesses that require you to make health and lifestyle, taking care of yourself, a priority. I use diet and lifestyle to manage my mental illness, and if do not make sure I spend time at the gym, on making my food, on keeping a balanced schedule, on keeping track of my moods and how food effects my mind and body, I can’t be a good parent, wife, or contribute to the world around me. Some of us just don’t have the luxury to take time off from taking care of our health.

    As far as what it teaches our kids, my work on myself has brought my family closer together. We love spending time together at CrossFit, rock climbing, cooking together, researching diet and how it effects our mind and body. Also, CrossFit gave my son a much needed body positive message at a time when other kids and the media were all body shaming. I am glad he is not learning what I learned.

    My son wants to be in the CrossFit games one day and if my example leads him to a career in health and fitness, I would be happy for him. It saves lives and families. I has for me. Without it, I would, literally, go crazy. I would hate for someone to wish that on me just because they think I should spend less time on my own health.


      August 7, 2014

      Thanks. I actually really love responding to questions. It’s fun and makes me think!

      And so cool about your son. Mine has ZERO interest. Still have hopes for the little one. ;)


    August 6, 2014

    What an eloquently executed answer! I think perhaps one’s personal definition of “health” is also at the center of this friendly disagreement. I would agree with this reader in that “health” solely in terms of calories burned, dress sizes, and other numbers and such IS too much. What this reader, in my opinion, failed to take into account is a more holistic view of health. Perhaps I’m reading my own opinions into your writing, but it seems that we share the opinion that “health” is so much more all-encompassing than that. Getting “healthy” for me actually meant banishing obsessions with numbers and tapping into my emotional and even spiritual well-being.


      August 7, 2014

      Thanks and I agree.. totally!

    Sky Sloderbeck

    August 6, 2014

    I see myself in the person that wrote you. Correction: I see my old self in the person that wrote you. What that long letter boils down to (as I read and understood it), is this person’s priority list doesn’t have her health at the top or even near the top. I read it as a long excuse of why she doesn’t want to work out, and the fact that she wrote you about it means she struggles with it and wants to be validated (again, as I read and understood it).

    Up until 9 weeks ago, I made every excuse in the book to not be healthy, and one of them was “I’d rather spend time raising a great child than living in a gym.” Then I had a mental shift, an a-ha moment, an epiphany. In the past 8 weeks, I’ve lost 27 pounds and spend MORE time with my son because we exercise together, do yoga together, ride bikes together, and so much more – because I’m getting healthier and able to keep up with him more every day.

    So is health and fitness worth the time put in? Definitely. And if going to a gym is work, find something that’s not, like soccer or bike riding. Exercise should be fun. Healthy should taste delicious. If they aren’t, you’re doing something wrong.


      August 7, 2014

      “Exercise should be fun. Healthy should taste delicious.”


      Martha Glantz

      August 7, 2014

      You know that is what I’m finally realizing. Like duh! Healthy food can be and is DELICIOUS. Poached salmon tonight with a fresh salad with plenty of veggies and a steamed ear of corn. Doesn’t get better than that!


    August 6, 2014

    I think you answered this very well. As someone who is fast approaching my 40s I would like to say that my almost 80 year old parent has some very serious health issues from not making health a priority and it flat out pisses me off when I think about how longer our time together could be if things were different. I don’t care how old I get I will never be in a place where I want my parents not to care about their health and taking care of themselves. Both my parents now workout 3 times a week. They enjoy how it makes them feel and the social aspect as well. I don’t think we ever get to a place and time when our health should not be a top priority. With out good health we can’t really do the other things in life.

    I agree that I think the reader is looking at working out as a chore and not an enjoyable hobby. You once did a weekend quote about “finding your basketball” and I have never forgotten that phrase. I believe if we are open to trying new things that everyone can find some type of physical activity that does not feel like work. Not all exercise must be in a gym. I found I love lifting weights and going to crossfit. I look forward to it! For me it is my “basketball”

    I do not believe that you, the trainers, the nutritionist or any others in the health and fitness industry are wasting time or energy. We need these people just as much as the teachers. They in fact are teachers helping those who are struggling learn new ways to travel through their life journey. Its not about being “skinny”. When I eat like crap and don’t work out I feel different and it affects every piece of my life. For me it is about fueling my body so I can do the things in my life that I enjoy. When I don’t put my health first I don’t have the energy to do actually live life. I was wasting my time when I barely had the energy to make it through a day at work, only to come home and pass out on the couch.

    I think I was once much like Robin. My life revolved around weighing and measuring my food, wearing a heart rate monitor to track calories burned, tracking everything! All I wanted was to not think about food and exercise. It was too much and not sustainable. I now try to eat good wholesome food. I don’t count or track anything. I have my workout days and I wish to add more, but can’t fit into my schedule right now. That’s okay. I no longer weigh myself. I still would like to shrink a few more sizes, but if it happens it happens. My life will not revolve around it.

    I believe you contribute a lot to the world doing what you do. Best of all you get to do something you love and do it on your terms. To me you are a teacher. I have learned so much following your journey.


      August 7, 2014

      Thank you so much. :)


    August 7, 2014

    A healthy happy mom is the anchor of the house. It is no waste of time even if you spend twice as much in the gym. I challenge anybody to just measure how much time they spend browsing online and I bet you most people spend far more than 8 hours per week. But somehow not spending those 8 hours gets justified by anything and everything.

    Every person has to be dedicated to themselves first and foremost. You cannot give what you don’t have. You cannot take care of anyone (let alone the world!) if you are not taking care of your health by merely spending a few hours a week at the gym or putting a bit more extra time in proactive eating.


      August 7, 2014

      It’s so true. We don’t realize that we spend time on the things that are important to us.


    August 7, 2014

    I just turned 50, my kids are grown, so I’m looking back on how I raised them. I seriously regret not setting a better example for them in their early through teen years. My oldest one really struggles with weight issues and I know I am partly responsible. I wanted to be casually healthy, not having to think or work that hard at it and ended up gaining a lot of weight and developing health problems because of it. In the society we live in I don’t think it’s possible to be “casually healthy”. Our children need to be taught by example how to be healthy. They don’t just instinctively know how to live a balanced healthy life. I wish someone had taught me the importance of eating heathy foods in the right amounts and how to enjoy moving my body. I think a responsible parent should teach their child these things. I wish I could get those years with my kids back, but at least they see that I finally figured it out and they can too.


      August 7, 2014

      No regrets. You did the best you can and you can/will still influence them!


    August 7, 2014

    I understand what the reader was asking–I sometimes ask the same sort of question. For me, I wonder how/why do healthy living bloggers structure so many aspects of their lives around their health (mothering, marriage, work)? It does come off as a little obsessive or all-consuming sometimes. Like, everything in life is in relation to one’s health or fitness, and bloggers are just not “being” or seeing the big picture. Some of it may be an artifact of a healthy living blog–we are not be hearing about the other aspects of their lives–because then it would be a different type of blog. Guess that is why there are so many different types of blogs out there. Or like someone said in the comments, maybe it is that they are putting their health higher up on their priority list than I am. It is interesting to think about…

    Roni, I love the direction your blog has been going in the past few years–less focused on the scale and closely monitoring of your eating. And I like that you have been adding more posts about the emotional aspects of health. I admire your motivation and drive to continually learn and grow. You are unique among the group of healthy living/fitness bloggers.

    BTW, I have been using the #wycwyc philosophy in my mothering–I was putting way too much pressure on myself to be a “perfect” mom. Just wanted to share that although you use a healthy living/fitness slant with it–it can be applied in other areas of one’s life. thanks!


      August 7, 2014

      I think that’s because they are only blogging about that one aspect. It’s why I try to include a bit more here on the blog about the kids and the husband. Healthy living doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

      And AWESOME on the #wycwyc — it is my philosophy for life as well! We talk about that in the book. It’s not only about losing weight.

    T Good

    August 7, 2014

    I have to believe that the readers question was based somewhere around the same priorities my mother-in-law had. She enjoyed life (by her definition) to the fullest. She never thought about her weight or getting exercise. She lived her life eating the things that made her smile and always had family around to share it with. She died at 52 of cardiac arrest. More that 25% of her life missed out on because it was to difficult to eat “special” and too expensive and time consuming to work out. This is a lesson I do not have to learn the hard way. I commit to 4 days of exercise and agree to try to stay under 1600 calories per day – no food groups barred or shunned here! I pray that caring a bit about my health will earn me the 25+ years she missed out on. But agreed, to each his own. As far as the career choice Roni, I only WISH the manner in which I provided financially for my family was my passion. You are BLESSED!


      August 7, 2014

      I truly am and I try to recognize that fact every day. :)


    August 7, 2014

    I think there is a point at which an obsession with exercise/the gym etc. is bordering on unhealthy. I don’t see you as being there, but I get what the poster was asking. And I’m sure it’s a question you ask yourself all the time, because you strike me as the kind of person who struggles with/contemplates finding balance all the time.


      August 7, 2014

      I used to but not anymore because I’ve stopped obsessing and now (as cheesy as it sounds because I’m writing the book) I just do what I can when I can and trust myself that it is enough.

    Sarah Deman

    August 7, 2014

    It would be nice to not even have to think about living a healthy lifestyle, let alone work at it. Wouldnt it be nice if it just came naturally to everyone? Unfortunately, that is not the case. You have to choose your priorities and find that balance, and I think that is something all of us struggle with. I think the way that you, Roni, have made this healthy lifestyle such a huge part of your life, without sacrificing your family time, is incredible! Thank you for sharing your life with us, too! :)


      August 7, 2014

      You are so welcome!

    Carli Fierce

    August 7, 2014

    Hey Roni! You pulled me out of lurk mode with this post. I’ve followed your blog for years and years. Your blog inspired me to run a 5K, to become a blogger, and even inspire thousands of others to do the Couch to 5K program. Sometimes it’s shocking to me when people send emails like that, but it was done tastefully. Years ago in college I lost 50 pounds and thought I was “done.” It was that “done” mentality that led me to gain all of the weight back and then some. I think when you have/had a food addiction and a poor body image, it does take all that you do to stay where you are. Your blog is now a reflection of maintenance. That awesome dreamland that I aspire to live in one day. Where every bite, every step and the number on the scale is not such a big freakin’ deal. I love seeing what a true healthy lifestyle change looks like for a working mom. Keep doing what you do!


      August 7, 2014

      Thank you so much! I’m trying! :)


    August 7, 2014

    Hi Roni and everyone,
    This is Robin, the letter writer.

    Roni, thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully consider and answer my question. I learned a few things from your answer (see below), and also feel excited to have made actual contact with you after reading your blog and “knowing” you and your family for so many years!

    What really hit home for me was your description of your physical activity compared to your husband’s. Like your husband, I avoid the gym but play tennis a few times a week, and swim with a club that has over time become a social thing as well as a swimming activity. I do not “get” the gym, but you are right: to each their own, and it helps to frame a decision to exercise in the gym as a hobby rather than a sad chore.

    (As an aside, I also think this is one of the reasons why your blog is so interesting to me. You try different activities, and I get to “try them on” with you by reading about it. Over the past few years, we have read about Tough Mudders and CrossFit. For some reason, I totally “get” the Tough Mudder thing, and totally don’t get CrossFit. Seems arbitrary what activity is interesting for me to read about. Because… To each their own.)

    I was also struck by your previous post, that our bodies are not the work of art. Our bodies are the paintbrushes. That is exactly what I meant by “getting over it.” I really loved that post/link.

    I would just add one thought that may not be popular. Anyone reading this spends at least some time thinking about their health, in some capacity: physical and mental well-being, weight loss or gain, new challenges etc. Of course, this is supremely important! It’s the starting point to everything else we do.

    But – as with all life choices – there is an opportunity cost to the way to spend our energy, focus and time. I think I underestimate the “return” on the health investment (as you put it) and this conversation is really helpful to me in sorting that out. But I would also gently suggest that we not overemphasize it either. Healthy living in all its capacities keeps our paintbrushes in good working, but it should not be equated to Good/Better/ or even virtuous behavior. And we should not think about the marginal hour (your “ninth hour” of exercise, or whatever it may be for another person) in the same context as the time that each individual feels is part of joyful living.

    Again, thanks for the thoughtful and quick response! I’ll be here reading and wishing you the best, Robin


      August 7, 2014

      That’s exactly what I do, I try things on. Love that metaphor and tomorrows quote is just about that! (found it today.)

      As for your “but” I think that’s a given and those things come from a place of comparison. Once you realize you are the only one you need to answer to you, and if you are truly honest with yourself doing what you can when you can, you don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. There is no good or better or worse or onlys, things just are.

      That’s the place I’m at now and I have to tell you, it’s wonderful.

    Tiffany Walker

    August 7, 2014

    I think it would be great if we could all be casually healthy. I think many people were back before all the modern snack and fast foods became so easily available to us all. People ate whole foods, snacking was not really a thing, they rarely ate out and were more active in everyday life, whether it was working on a farm, walking/riding bikes more places or simply not sitting in front of a computer or television all night. Now, it takes more thought and effort to control and limit how much of these processed foods enter our lives, and how much screen time we and our children have. I think if you are at or near a healthy weight it is easier to be a little more casual in your approach…as long as you are moderate in your eating and active fairly regularly you can probably maintain your weight. But if you are trying to lose weight, the fact is that you WILL have to put some time and effort into it, both mental and physical. You’re trying to break bad habits and institute good habits, and that takes energy, no way around it. I think if you keep health as your overall goal, with liking how you look in the mirror as a nice side benefit, finding a good balance becomes easier.


      August 7, 2014

      ” I think if you keep health as your overall goal, with liking how you look in the mirror as a nice side benefit, finding a good balance becomes easier.”

      That’s a good way to think about it.


    August 7, 2014

    I just read an article on this!!!


      August 7, 2014

      Love that! Just linked it yesterday…


    August 7, 2014

    I think we all have our own, fluctuating over our lives, idea of enough concern about our food/ exercise habits. When I was young, I could get away with little exercise and eating junk regularly. As my body aged, and life got more stressful, I found that eating healthy foods, getting exercise was more important. Okay, sometimes it’s because I sacrifice sleep for work, or let minor life issues stress me out, etc. I remember when I could sleep soundly at 3 minutes notice and on whatever couch I found.

    Roni seems pretty grounded to me, in comparison to some (cough cough Roth). I don’t hear her chewing out her kids’ soccer coach for having snacks, or going to battle with birthday parties at school. She shops at Aldi’s, not Whole Paycheck; she is more concerned about getting her family to eat fruits, vegetables, than the perfect, organic, non-GMO, highly touted vegetable of the week. I suspect I would be one of those belligerent snack food mom types, so I’m not judging that stance, but pointing out that Roni is a ways away from that.

    Yeah, I wish it were easy, automatic to eat better. And sometimes it is. Unfortunately, the times when I most need the nutrients of healthy foods are when it’s hardest to eat it. A lot of this depends on your home environment. I share a kitchen with someone who is very ill and deserves to have a piece of junk food if that’s what will make her happy today. Unfortunately the pattern is for her to have one piece and the other 7 are left to go stale, can’t have that can I?


      August 11, 2014

      I share one with a husband who has NO regard for his own health. I have finally convinced him to keep his junk hidden in another room. I was tired of it influences the kid snack decisions.


    August 7, 2014

    I think the key is to understand that we live in a hostile food/health environment, so we have to spend some time & thought to get and stay healthy. I personally have had to change my thought process with regard to how I spend my time, and it’s still a struggle some days to choose health. If I go on autopilot I will definitely drift back into old behaviors, because of everything in the world around me that makes it so much easier (and pleasurable, in the short term) to eat crap and to move very little. I know from experience that running outdoors renews my spirit, and makes it easier for me to take part in activities that require fitness. But the computer and the TV, they make it so easy to numb out. So I have to devote a certain amount of conscious thought every day to make my (and my family’s) health a priority, and create a more health-friendly environment in my home. It would be nice if I could devote the head space to something else, but in this culture/physical environment, it’s just not an option for me if I want to be healthy.


      August 11, 2014

      It’s so true, we are constantly battling our environment.


    August 7, 2014

    I feel like I can relate to the letter writer quite a bit. I’ve struggled for a really long time with body dysmorphia. I have absolutely wondered “what good am I doing by constantly worrying about this or writing about this or coounting every calorie. Wouldn’t life be easier if I just let myself go to my favorite Italian restaurant with my amazing other half and enjoy his company while eating what I wanted without having to plan a counter workout?”
    Balance. Doing activities that you life to do that are also active. Learning to incorporate foods that are both delicious and healthy. It can be a lot. And sometimes, you just wonder what’s the point? Is this one food decision going to dictat the rest of my life?
    I totally understand your responses and I agree with a lot of it. But I can’t help but wonder the same thing “how much is too much?”


      August 7, 2014

      I think it’s too much if you think it’s too much. That may sound like a cop out but everyone is going to have a too much set point. For me worrying about the last 5 lbs and obsessing over it became too much, so I stopped weighing in and food journaling because I found the balance I was seeking and I’m living the active life I want to live. Those 5 lbs no longer matter.

    Martha Glantz

    August 7, 2014

    OMG this post is so what I worry about! When I don’t think about my health (eating right and exercising) I put on weight. Now that I’ve lost the weight and am maintaining I HAVE to commit to eating right, tracking my food, and exercising. right now I do worry a bit about my pre-occupation with what I eat (planning, tracking, etc) but that has worked and is working for me.
    As long as I don’t let exercise and healthy eating keep me from doing other things or seeing friends I think it’s OK.
    I do feel great and I love the way I look and the fact that I can go into any store and buy fantastic looking clothes.
    There is an added wrinkle for me…..having the heart attack in Feb. 2013 makes me uber conscious of eating right and exercising. totally non negotiable.


      August 11, 2014

      I think you are doing great!


    August 7, 2014

    Please forward to Robin if you would:
    I am over 60 and here are the reasons I “work out”-although after over 40 years of getting up early and doing something I love, I hesitate to call it that.

    1.) Gives me energy for the rest of my day/career. I work with special needs kids at a preschool. It is a fast paced, and very physical job. I am the one who is outside running after the kiddos, pushing 6 of them in the giant swing and able to get up and down from small chairs and the floor many times a day.
    2.) My exercise (races) have taken me to the tops of mountains, across canyons, down rapids in rivers, across lakes (swim, not boat) and bays. I wouldn’t call that a waste of time. I have seen many beautiful places because of my “exercise”. I am not a gym rat altho I love the weight room and try to get there at least one day a week.
    3.) I see the Dr. once a year for a well check. I was told I have the physique/metabolism of someone 20 years younger. I only get weighed at the Dr.’s office and don’t have a scale at home. I am always about the same. I have only had one “serious” condition-Graves disease which is now corrected with exercise, diet and a thyroid supplement. My blood pressure and heart rate and cholesterol (good) are all low.
    4.) I never suffered from period woes or menopause/hormonal problems as I kept up my exercise.
    5.) My daughter appreciates exercise and good nutrition at almost 28 and is entering a field similar to mine-to contribute to society. She cares about her looks but she will go out in public w/out makeup and in old clothes. She doesn’t own a scale either.
    6.) Getting up early has treated me to “me” time, beautiful sunrises, birdsong, coyote and deer sightings along with many shooting stars. Wouldn’t change it for the world.
    7.) I sleep well at night.
    8.) I can have “treats” (just had some m&ms!) and don’t have to count calories.
    9.)I have made many good friends by running, cycling, hiking and swimming with them. People open up when you are training with them.
    10.) I feel so much younger than I am.

    Waste of my time? Hardly. I still have time for reading, making materials for kids I work with, decorating my house, doing things with my hubby and daughter and other members of my family, gardening and my house is fairly clean. It’s only one or two hours(weekends) out of my day. There is plenty of time for other things. Glad I made the choice at 16.


    August 8, 2014

    I was kind of baffled that someone could ask if it’s *healthy* to devote so much time and energy to *health*…I mean, what?! It sounds ridiculous–to me that’s like saying, “Does putting clothes on in the morning really help with not being naked?” But then I took a step back and considered the source, and realized that everyone has a different idea of “healthy”. We probably could all agree health is generally rooted in one’s wellness, but while I see health in my own life interpreted by my physical activities and abilities, by her original question it appears Robin may view a healthy lifestyle as one that is spent with loved ones, sharing and receiving love. And I agree that’s wonderful, but that kind of “health” is arguably more mental. I realize mental health is crucial for one’s well-being, but it’s only half of the formula that creates true wellness. Allow me to explain…

    I, personally, view mental health and physical health separately but equally; they go hand-in-hand to comprise an overall well-being. I think Robin is arguing that if you spend all your time working out, sacrificing your relationships and other hobbies for physical health, you’re not healthy. I completely agree. However, in the same vein, I would argue that if you spend all your time focusing on sitting around with friends and family, eating and talking and playing board games without any consideration for your own physical health, you are not healthy.

    I do CF for the daily sense of accomplishment and camaraderie I have come to crave, but also so that I can do things I love to do most, like spending time with friends and family while mountain biking, wakeboarding, kayaking, snowboarding, hiking a 14er (which I’m doing tomorrow), doing Tough Mudders or other events, paddle boarding, exploring on vacation, etc. etc. Some people view these activities as chores done in the pursuit of physical fitness, but to me, these things are infinitely better than any alternative. I feel so much more connected to my loved ones (or even strangers around me doing the same thing) when we’re having adventures together, exploring and testing our limits. I’ve found these experiences build much stronger bonds.
    I do these things with my loved ones whenever I possibly can because these are the kind of experiences I prefer to share with them. No amount of social dinners or game nights or cocktail hours are going to make me feel as close to them as I will feel with my husband and CF family when we summit the mountain tomorrow for sunrise. For me, a focus on physical health helps shape my body, yes, but more importantly, it shapes my life. My lifestyle is a byproduct of how I prepare my body to do the things I love (kind of a cyclical view on the paintbrush thing), so I enjoy spending time at the gym, all the while knowing that I’m making it easier for my body to bike with friends through the woods near my home, to kayak to a tiny island off Oahu with my mom, or to climb one of the highest mountains in the US–because those kinds of experiences are what I want my life to consist of.

    But to each their own.

    “So when you say “wasting time at the gym” I feel like you are approaching exercise as a chore instead of finding a physical outlet you actually enjoy doing.” >Yes! This will be my answer for anyone in the future who asks me a question along these lines!


      August 11, 2014

      It’s really true! Everyone like to exercise in SOME way they just need to do some trying to see what fits them.


    August 9, 2014

    This was such an interesting discussion. And I think that, like most times, the question says more about the asker than the person being asked (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)

    I love to write. It is what brings me joy. But It is very sedentary and if that is all I do then my legs hurt, my back gets stiff, and I can’t sleep, which then means my writing suffers. So, I do my stretching, and walk on the treadmill at the gym (and read at the same time) and lift my weights and eat in a way that doesn’t leave me feeling gross and stuffed.

    I can’t (and don’t want to) ever stop thinking about my health. It is the engine of the car that I can take where I want it to go. If I neglect it, everything else suffers and the things I love screech to a halt.

    Roni, you are one of the last people I see as “obsessed with health” to the detriment of other things. You travel, you write, you create recipes, you can make websites, you have a family, you arrange conferences, you write books – and you happen to keep yourself healthy while doing all that. I think you are a great example of having found balance, and demonstrating it by living it.


      August 11, 2014

      Thank you! I finally feel like I’m recognizing that balance too.