Motivation, Part II

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I briefly touched on my motivation for healthy eating and exercise in last night’s post, and several of you asked that I expand on my philosophy a little tonight. 


To summarize what I said last night, one of my turning points was when I realized I should work out for my health, not to look hot.  When I only cared about being skinny, I ended up sabotaging myself.   I was too focused on short-term benefits, and when they didn’t instantly materialized, I would binge.  Now, I make food and exercise decisions based on long-term goals. 


I can’t really tell you how my eating and exercise philosophy evolved without talking about my changing views on lifeHealthy eating and exercise doesn’t happen in a bubble. 


For a long time, I struggled to "connect the dots" on my actions and my overall satisfaction with life.  I would complain I was overweight and then binge on ice cream.  I wrestled to button my jeans but refused to to the gym.  I was mean to (a few) people and wondered why there was so much drama in my life.


As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to actively seek the answers to my questions instead of just stumbling through life.  And maybe it seems like the thoughts below don’t relate to healthy eating and exercise, but to me–they do.


  • Life is a Series of Choices:   Every choice we make has a consequence, good or bad.  Do you want to marry a nice man?  Choose to date nice people! Do you want to have a successful job?  Choose to stay in college!  Do you want to feel comfortable in your own skin?  Choose to go to the gym more often than not! Life doesn’t happen to youHappiness isn’t a fluke.  Health isn’t handed to you on a silver platter.  Life is a series of choices, and you’re responsible for putting all your ducks in a row.


  • The Only Moment that Matters is Now:   The past has weight on your life only if you choose to give it importance.  The only moment that is truly pivotal is this single instant.  If you’ve made a bad decision about food or exercise, just let it go…. you can’t change what happened, but you can do something RIGHT NOW.   If you just binged on Oreos, acknowledge the mistake and do a few push-ups.  And, because life is a series of choices, the decisions you make in this moment positively affect your future.  So look FORWARD with your chin up!


  • One Day, I’ll Die:  It’s weird to even type that, but it’s true.  I hope I don’t die anytime soon, but I could!  I think when we are younger, we tend to believe we are invincible.   As I’ve grown older, I realized two things.  First, just because I’m 24 doesn’t mean I’m immune to health issues.  Two of my friends in college got diagnosed with cancer when they were 21.  I want to do EVERYTHING I can to protect my health NOW.  Secondly, I could die in freak accident, with no warning.  I could get hit by a bus tomorrow–so why stress out about having a bag of fun size M&Ms if I’m generally healthy?  It’s not worth beating myself up over it and ruining my self esteem.  Seriously… don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s just not worth it!


  • I Can’t Control Other People:  People are going think and do what they want.  Many women strive for physical perfection because they think it will make someone love them more, treat them nicer, pay attention to them…. Living your life for other people will get you nowhere fast


  • Your Greatest Love Affair Should be with Yourself:  No one has the capacity to love you the way you can love yourself.   If you love yourself, you can’t go wrong in your choices.  Staying true to your own desires will guide you through the toughest challenges and give you motivation to achieve any goal.


  • Fake It Until You Make It:  Life is tough.  Happiness is elusive.  Motivation wanes.  When you’re feeling down, the best thing you can do is "fake it until you make it!"  Putting on a smile and looking forward to the future  can do wonders.


I’d love to hear the lessons YOU’VE learned about life, health, and happiness!




I hit the gym up for a quickie speedwork session.  I intended to do a 11 X 400 sprint session (i.e. 11 sets of 400 meters at an 8-minute mile pace).  My heart rate was going through the roof! I felt terrible by the 6th sprint, so I only ended up doing 7 sprints.  I finished up on the elliptical.


Here’s what I did


  • 2 minute warm-up at 5.5 mph
  • 2 minutes at 7.5 mph (400 meters)
  • 1 minute cool-down at 6.5 mph
  • Repeat sprint and cool-down 6 more times
  • Remainder: elliptical


Here are my statistics:


  • Duration: 32 minutes
  • Average Heart Rate: 174 bpm
  • Maximum Heart Rate: 198 bpm
  • Calories Burned: 307


Today’s Eats


For dinner, I had 2 oz. of chicken, some steamed peppers, steamed broc, and Kashi Pilaf.


When I came home from the gym, I shoved the butt of the French bread loaf into my mouth.   Ahhhhh. Bread = Perfection.


Before the gym, I had 1 slice of WW bread, some PB, and a banana.


Around 2 PM, I sneaked a M&M pack.  This Halloween candy needs to be passed out to the children ASAP!


And around 1, I had my usual yogurt + granola.


Side note: doesn’t Maggie look pretty (and wrinkly) in the sunlight?


Off to do wedding chores! And…. thanks for listening to me wax philosophical earlier. 🙂



  • amy. October 29, 2008, 5:42 pm

    i love your life lessons. i especially like “Your Greatest Love Affair Should be with Yourself”. very true concept. thanks for your wisdom! i’ve experienced many of these things too.
    awesome meals too of course 😀
    maggie looks precious :DDD

  • *Andrea* October 29, 2008, 5:42 pm

    this post made me get all teary for some reason… i love your words of wisdom! life can be tough but you seem to keep things in perspective and make the most out of it. 🙂

  • Molly October 29, 2008, 5:46 pm


    thank you thank you thank you. your words %& your lifestyle are inspiring. unlike some bloggers, your tone in this entry does not come off as self-righteous or condescending.

  • Meg October 29, 2008, 5:47 pm

    Very motivational and inspirational words! Love Maggie’s picture!

  • Laura October 29, 2008, 5:48 pm

    Very well said!

    One of my greatest lessons is something that you mentioned. Life is about choices! Something else I’ve learned is not to take things personally. This sort of dawned on me when I was seriously lied to by one of the people closest to me. She didn’t betray me because she was out to get me. She lied because she had her own issues to deal with. I’m not going to live my life holding grudges. 🙂 I guess it’s the whole “put yourself in their shoes” thing that seems to always come back to me.

  • hk October 29, 2008, 5:53 pm

    all TOO TRUE! love it 🙂

  • Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) October 29, 2008, 6:01 pm

    Great post!

  • HangryPants October 29, 2008, 6:02 pm

    Thanks for the sneak peak of your dress! hahahaha

  • Balance, Joy and Delicias! October 29, 2008, 6:07 pm

    So agree with each of them.
    Today I wrote about my weight ups-down story too. I guess when we get older we know better how to take care about ourselves.

  • Girl on Top October 29, 2008, 6:18 pm

    Great job on the interval!

  • teacherwoman October 29, 2008, 6:21 pm

    Great post! Well written and so true. Life is full of choices and I think that there are so many unhappy people out there that just choose to be unhappy rather than doing anything about it. I think I felt that way for a while a few years ago and now I view things completely different.

  • Sharney October 29, 2008, 6:24 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    Wow! That was a great post. You are so wise & insightful. Everything you said makes perfect sense and I will try to remember these things when I am feeling down on myself or when I've slipped up. Your blog is so great because not only do you show us how to eat healthy and make exercise a part of our lives, but you also show us how to live a life that is fulfilling & meaningful. Thank you soooooo much for that 🙂 You are such a level-headed, caring and genuine person. That is why your blog is my favorite!

    I am glad you got in your speedwork- good for you!!! Saturday is supposed to be my 12 miler and I don't know if I've got it in me. I have been sick off and on for the last couple of weeks and have been feeling so meh. I feel drained of all energy. Since my 10 mile run on Saturday, I have managed to get in three 5 mile runs. I'm supposed to do 3 miles tomorrow, rest Friday and then run 12 on Saturday. I don't know if I should. Maybe I'll just do 5 or 7 and save the 12 miles for the following weekend. What do you think? Sorry to bother you all the time with my looooooooong posts & many questions. I just think you give GREAT advice and you're always willing to help us all out! Thanks for all you do Caitlin and enjoy the rest of your evening.

    Btw, I know what you mean about the halloween candy. I bought 6 bags a little over a week ago and fortunately I haven't cracked into it yet. The only reason I haven't is because I put it upstairs in the attic to keep it out of reach. I dread bringing it down on Friday because I KNOW I will have a really hard time not grabbing it everytime I walk past it!!

    Talk to you later 🙂

  • Sharney October 29, 2008, 6:25 pm

    Forgot to tell you how absolutely darling Maggie looks!! I love the wrinkles! She looks like such a sweetie. Hugs to Maggie & James 🙂

  • just me October 29, 2008, 6:37 pm

    omg; i seriously was on the very of crying while reading your post. you hit so many spots that i have struggled with over the years and gosh…i can’t even describe how i feel! lets put it this way, your words are now printed and pasted on my mirror and into my journal so when i need them, i can always find them (and of course i can view them here).

    you totally rock caitlin. I’m so glad i have found your blog.

  • Ali October 29, 2008, 6:40 pm

    I am fairly new to your blog, but I really love it! I dont have a blog (yet) but I added you to my favorites list. I just want you to that THIS POST might be one of the most beneficial things I have ever read…I just copy and pasted it onto a brightly colored sheet that I am printing and putting at my desk at work, as well as on my mirror at home. Everything you said tonight really just clicked, and I dont know if I needed to hear it from someone else or if the things that I have told myself weren’t quite clear but this was so insightful. So thank you so much for your words. I will definitely remind myself to care for myself and my body at a higher level now.

  • Justine October 29, 2008, 6:40 pm

    I love your motivational comments…you should write a book or be a motivational speaker!

  • strongandhealthy October 29, 2008, 6:57 pm

    I love your blog and tonight’s motivational life lessons. I printed out Oprah’s quotes you posted last week. I have them in my purse for when I need a “boost” during the day. Now I have more to add! I started my own blog today. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  • Caitlin (see bride run) October 29, 2008, 7:09 pm

    i totally just bawled my eyes out reading your comments to that blog… thank you guys so much.

    laura – good life lesson!! very true!

    teacher woman – i agree. it’s all in your hands!

    sharon – i love your long comments! do you have a half marathon scheduled? 12 miles sounds like a whammy!! if you are tired, take a break. from what you’ve been telling me about your schedule, its been a pretty steady uphill climb. most training plans have you taper off every three weeks so you drop back down by 20%. so if you did 10 miles last week and its was your third week of long runs, this weekend you should do 8 miles, and then NEXT weekend try 12. as you know from watching me, its easy to get muscle burn out, so be careful!

    melissa – love ya! dont cry! cant wait to meet you real life!

    justine – writing a book is my life-long dream 🙂 maybe after wedding planning!

    ali – THANK YOU for reading and commenting. i’m glad my post gave you a smile and lifted your spirits.

    strong and healthy – thanks!! im checking out your blog right now!

  • Lee (seeleelive) October 29, 2008, 7:14 pm

    HAHAHA…i love peanut m&m's they are one of my top 3 (next to snickers and after reeces!) ohhh boy- i love the positive vibe of your blog. my mother always used to tell me that-fake it till you make it-smiling actually released endorphins. Show them pearly whites!

  • Elina October 29, 2008, 7:19 pm

    Caitlin that was so inspirational! You’re amazing!

  • Emily October 29, 2008, 7:24 pm

    this post was beautiful.
    besides your insightful and incredibly meaningful tips, i think it’s amazing that you and i will probably (tear) never meet, and yet you’ve shed light on my life.
    keep truly living dear.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) October 29, 2008, 7:27 pm

    emily – everyone vacays in florida, right? well the next time you’re here, gimme a call!! 🙂

  • Krista October 29, 2008, 7:30 pm

    What a great, insightful post! Thanks…:)

  • Lyss October 29, 2008, 7:59 pm

    I must agree with andrea. Your post actually put tears in my eyes. I wish I could find it easier to tell myself those things.

  • Rachel October 29, 2008, 8:03 pm

    I’m delurking here, but I just had to tell you how much I loved this post! Also, on a completely different note…I love your dogs’ expressions in your pictures…so typical. 🙂 Makes me miss my puppy.

  • ttfn300 October 29, 2008, 8:08 pm

    Such a great post Caitlin, and just what i needed right now!!!

  • Shauna October 29, 2008, 8:24 pm

    I LOVED your life lessons! I’ve been following your blog for a couple of weeks now and I must say I love it. You are so inspirational! I just read this post before going to the gym, so now I’m more motivated than ever 🙂 Thanks for all those words of wisdom. It will give me something to ponder while I work out!

  • Jenngirl October 29, 2008, 8:28 pm

    Wow amazing post caitlin! It was so thoughtful and clear, definitely something I needed right now, and am in total agreement with it all! 🙂

  • Andrea of Care to Eat October 29, 2008, 9:32 pm

    Wow. When I was reading your post tonight, I felt like I could have written it! When I was 19, I got severely depressed (turns out, it runs in the family). I realized then, that I was responsible for my own happiness. I had a blessed childhood, but as I was becoming an adult I knew that it was up to me, and only me, to determine my happiness, and I’ve lived my life since, according to that philosophy. I don’t think it’s selfish to put yourself first, because if you’re unhappy, what good are you to the rest of the world? I also have a necklace that has a pendant on it that has the word “live” etched in it. In fact, I’m wearing it right now! Yes, it’s important to think ahead to the future (you can’t ignore responsibility!), but you have to take the time to fill your day with great, not just good, moments!
    Thank you for this post – it was truly a gift for us readers!

  • Sarah October 30, 2008, 12:22 am

    Hey! I was wondering if you cook your Kashi pilaf according to the package directions or if you do anything different? I made it the other night and it was very tough/chewy? Thanks!

  • wholefoodswholeme October 30, 2008, 1:02 am

    great post, again! i learn so much from your outlook & approach.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) October 30, 2008, 4:01 am

    again… thank you thank you thank you.

    sarah – i cook to the package directions… it IS very chewy (thats why i like it so much). once i overcooked it and it wasn’t as chewy, so i’d say just add more water and keep boilin’.

  • Erin of Care to Eat October 30, 2008, 4:50 am

    I really appreciated this. 🙂

  • Andrea (Off Her Cork) October 30, 2008, 5:13 am

    Your post was awesome! I agree with so many things. One thing I’ve learned, you don’t have to give up everything in order to be healthy. You can have wine, or chocolate, or chips every so often. Just realize that moderation is key to keep things in check. 🙂

  • Mariel October 30, 2008, 5:18 am

    What a great post. Thanks so much! All of these points are so very true and I especially like the part about your greatest love affair being with yourself. And I agree, your tone of voice (writing) is so positive and down to earth and not at all condescending. Thanks again! 🙂

  • Tim Rosanelli October 30, 2008, 6:15 am

    Beautiful post! Yes, these life lessons are sooo important.

    Thanks for writing such inspirational stuff.

    Tim Rosanelli
    View my blog at
    Sensei Talks
    Join our sit-up challenge at
    60 Situps in a Minute Challenge

  • HangryPants October 30, 2008, 6:32 am

    I loved listening to your philosphies! We think a lot alike.

    ” Every choice we make has a consequence, good or bad.”

    So true – in every aspect of life. It’s something I try to teach my students, too.

    I also think it’s great you’ve expressed that you used to think working out was only about losing weight and now you see beyond that. One day you will be dead is exactly right. Sometimes I get caught up in the weight trap, too and those are the times that running, yoga, etc. are the least enjoyable!

    You are the best!

  • Catherine October 30, 2008, 6:33 am

    Caitlin, That was a truly beautiful post. I couldn’t agree with you more and I’m happy for you that you figured all of that out already. Some people wander through life never really understand how to be happy (or I should say, make themselves happy).

  • greendogwine October 30, 2008, 6:57 am

    Aww Caitlin – you are so wisse beyond your years. What an amazing post. I think I’m honestly going to print it off and remind myself of those things – when I get bent out of shape over small stuff. Thanks for sharing!

    love the sunglight picture of maggie – too sweet!

  • Rose October 30, 2008, 7:48 am

    Caitlin this is a beautiful post and so meaningful. Thanks so much.

    I think one of my life lessons is that most things are temporary – that helps me get through rough times, just remembering that it is temporary , and I have the ability to change it.

    Thanks again – this was so wonderful!

  • Ruby Red Vegan October 30, 2008, 6:24 pm

    I am so glad you posted your philosophy… I have it bookmarked now so I can look at it anytime I need a little motivation! Thank you so much for sharing the wisdom — you’re a smart lady! 🙂

  • Heather May 13, 2010, 4:28 pm

    dare i say – best post ever. (so far.)

  • Kelly May 13, 2010, 6:39 pm

    I’m gonna agree with Heather. This is a REALLY good one. Love the part “The only moment that matters is now.”

    (You can blame our friend Heather for me commenting on a post from 2008 :))

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