Last virtual coffee date !

Dear readers, my blog has been on a vacation for the past 8 months while I have decided what to do about it. After much thought, I am going to be taking it off line this month (yes all good things need to come to an end), so I figured it was only fitting to catch up with everyone before I step out of the blogging world.

So catching up with DeborahCoco and the rest of you for a virtual coffee date seemed fitting. So grab a chair and let’s catch up.

The-Ultimate-Coffee-Date2

 

If we were having coffee, I would ask you if your kids are back to school and what their plans are. My eldest is going into the arts and starts college mid September.  The second one is a junior in high school. I am so proud of the young ladies that they have become. They are dynamic, interesting, fun, grounded and both have big life goals. It is so much fun watching them grow up.

Over coffee I would want to hear about your summer. Did you travel ? Any home projects ? I had 3 weeks vacation that we took in the States, and stayed with my parents in Maine. We hadn’t been to Maine in the summer for 4 years. I saw so much of my family, my brother & SIL came, and met with friends whom I hadn’t physically seen in years. We also went to the beach, the coast, went boating, and generally touristy things. It was all about quality time with family. PERFECT.

Camden, Maine

Boating on the lake

Boating in perfect Maine weather

Lobster !

Family

Over coffee we would probably chat about running & fitness. My running mojo disappeared at the beginning of this year after having run 2 marathons in 2016. It took about 6 months for it to come back. And at the moment, it is back in full swing. I have been working with Holly at Hohoruns since June, training for the Beach to Beacon 10K in August (nailed it ) and I have a 10K and half marathon in the same weekend at Disneyland Paris end of September. This is the first time ever I have worked with a running coach and it has been an amazing experience. Holly perfectly understood my objectives, is extremely reactive and encouraging, and while the plan is tough, it is not overly tough so I have never once been discouraged. I am in a really good place at the moment, and thus have signed up for 2 more races in October and one in November.

During my running hiatus, I did a lot more weight lifting, HIIT and general strength training. The variety did my mind and body good.

Over coffee, I would admit that my running hiatus also allowed me a much more active social life. I made an effort this year to catch up with many more friends.

If we were having coffee, I would also have to admit that I have also taken up a new hobby, golf. My husband has been taking lessons for 3 years and has been on my case about learning with him. As our kids will be leaving home over the next few years, I figured it was a great hobby to do together. So, I have been taking lessons since March, and am really really enjoying myself. In France we can play almost all year round. I have really enjoyed learning something new.

 

All in all, it has been a good year. Work is good. My health and my family’s health is good. I have done some traveling both for work and personal reasons. My kids are at a really good place.

So while I will take my blog off line during September, I am still active on Instagram. Hope you all have a great fall ! Tell me how your year has been !

Fit in France update

Good morning readers ! I woke up this morning, wanting to blog, so I thought I would provide a short update on what has been going on in my corner of the world. I haven’t blogged since January 1st, and this post doesn’t necessarily mean I will be back, but this is my blog and I can do what I want. So here are the highlights.

Fitness & running

I am not training for any races at the moment. After 2 marathons in 2016 I felt I really needed a break. I was feeling burnt out, so I have spent most of the winter months lifting weights or swimming, and running only once or twice a week. I think the break and weights helped my running because I did 2 races in February (a 5K and a 10K) and came very close to PR-ing both of them.

I am getting antsy though about finding a race. I am stalking the Disneyland Paris website to be able to sign up for the 10K and half marathon in September. For the moment you can only buy a weekend package. Since I live 30 minutes away, I will pass on the package. I have also taken up golf with my husband.

Family

My daughter is a senior and I have been spending lots of time with her on her college things. She is going to study computer animation and was accepted into the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota Florida, which was her dream school. However, the cost is prohibitive, even with a decent scholarship. This has been one of the hardest things over the past few months to manage. I don’t think I would be helping her get ahead in life if she comes out of school with $200,000  in debt, especially when we have great schools in France for the same subject. Her talent continues to amaze me.

My second daughter and husband are both well. My second daughter is highly involved in theater, and I have spent a lot of time with my husband on short weekends away. We usually go away in January for a short ski weekend, which we didn’t do in 2016 because of marathon training. So  we went this year, and it was great, despite it being 15 below (Farenheit!)

Work

The first half of the year is when I travel most for work….conferences, trainings & meetings with clients to kick off the year. I just returned from almost 3 weeks in Asia (Japan & China). This included 3 weekends where I got to play tourist. If you have never been, go. I hadn’t been in over 2 years and the changes that took place during that time period just blew my mind. Seriously, we should all be learning Chinese. At least the next generation should be.

The Great wall :

I even got to see the Tokyo Marathon while in Japan.

And this cracked me up…. I went running and there is a list of “running rules” and they even tell you that you need to run counter clockwise around the park.

My blogging break

Taking a break from blogging has definitely freed up a lot of time. Not only have I spent more time with my husband and children, but it has freed up “mental availability” to do other things. Of course I miss connecting with the people, you my readers and other bloggers. I also suffered from a bit of FOMO, but I learned to live with it. I just can not do everything and family and work are coming first at the moment.

 

What have you been up to over the past 3 months ?

Ever been to Japan or China ?

What would you do with all your free time if you took a blogging break ?

 

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 

WeeklyWrap

Blog-versary & blog break

Today, January 1st, 2017 marks the third anniversary of French Inspiration, my personal blog. I started this to keep me accountable in my daily quest for staying fit (in France!) and in my forties. It was also a way of connecting with my friends & family in the US, keeping them up to date on my life here in Europe, and to give readers a peak into the French lifestyle.

These three years have been amazing. The best thing about the experience was the new friends I have met, both virtually and in person. People I never would have connected with other wise. People who think exactly as I do, who have the same interests and the same struggles. The accountability of posting my workouts has been life changing, keeping me focused and continually motivated to always do my best. I NEVER would have run a marathon if I hadn’t been a blogger, I’m sure. And this year, I did two ! Definitely my biggest accomplishment because of my blog.

But I have decided it is time for a break. The next few months are going to be very busy for me, both personally and professionally, with things that are going to need my attention (hello ! How to finance a US college education for my senior ?!) and I have some big travel with work.

So I am taking a break. Not sure if it will be a month. Maybe I will join the Virtual coffee date at the beginning of February ? Maybe a 3 month break…. after my big travel ? Possible a permanent break ? I don’t know. I am being flexible about it.

Who know’s ? You might just see me back here in 2 weeks time !

 

In the meantime, I want to thank you, my readers, for reading and commenting on my blog. A special shout out to the following bloggers who have encouraged, inspired, motivated and supported me through this journey.

Judy at Chocolate runs Judy

Darlene at My First 5K and more

Deborah at Confessions of a mother runner

Holly at Hoho Runs

Wendy at Taking the long way home

Tricia at Misssippipiddlin

Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice

Coco at Running with perseverance

Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC

Melanie at Happy Being Healthy

Kim at Running on the fly

Karen at Running over the hill

Janelle at Run with No Regrets

…just to name a few. The list is by no way exhaustive.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU and if you’d like to connect with me on Instagram, click on the icon on the right of the page, or… @fit_in_france

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 

WeeklyWrap

Runfessions : December

I am linking up with Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice for the last Runfessions of 2016. It is (already!) that time of the month to get everything off your chest. Here goes……

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Running ? What running ?

I runfess… December was my lowest mileage month in 2016. I didn’t keep track, hardly wore my watch, and haven’t even written in my training journal for the past 3 weeks !  I estimate it to be around 50 miles but I might be OVER estimating that by a lot.

I runfess… last year at this time I was training for the Paris marathon. I am NOT missing training in the middle of winter and those zero dark thirty runs. It has been cold here !

I runfess that although I have signed up for 2 races in February, I am not (yet?) thinking of ”training” for them. I am picturing them as fun ways to kick off the season.

I runfess that I am fully enjoying my 6 week online bootcamp program with Amanda Tress. HIIT workouts, lifting weights, running, biking…. after training for 2 marathons in 2016 I was craving variety AND something I can do at home (hello! no need to go out at zero dark thirty).

I runfess that I am very happy with what I have accomplished this year. 2016 was good to me, but I feel a little lost without a big 2017 objective. I am a goal oriented person and without one, I feel like I am floating.

 

Let’s laugh a little ! Pictures that did not make it to IG.

I runfess that I take lots of photos and fix my hair before choosing one to put on social media. My daughter captured the process I went through one morning this week :

 

I runfess that I was too embarrassed to take a photo in the weight room this week, because it was 100% men. The lighting and background in the locker room is awful though, so this one didn’t get posted to IG. Ugh.

And finally, my husband made fun of this one, as it looks like I am doing something other than squatting !

 

How many photos do you take before posting one on IG ?

Do you spend time fixing your hair ?

What do you want to runfess this month ?

My intermittent fasting experience

I am in my mid forties and over the past few years, my weight has slowly creeped up. Even if I own a scale, I rarely get on it, but I knew it,  because my cothes were tight, both around my waist and my upper back. This situation has been frustrating for me. No matter how I tweaked my diet or my exercise regimen, I saw no change.

So in August I decided to sign up for a 6 week on line Boot camp / Carb Cycling program with Amanda Tress.

Since the first program, I have done two others and am signed up for my fourth starting in January. I love the workouts and the accountability of the closed Facebook group, but I am also loving one of the specificities of her programs, intermittent fasting.

Her boot camp program, (first program from August) is based largely on the philosophy of Yuri Elkaim :

I don’t feel this is a ”diet” as I refuse to ”diet”. It is about lifestyle changes.

…it integrated a 24 hour fast every 5 days, for 6 weeks. For example, you eat dinner on a Monday night and you fast until dinner the next day (drinking lots of water, tea & coffee is of course encouraged and necessary). Does that sound crazy ? It did when I started, but I wanted to trust the process and I was open minded about the reasons behind fasting (let your body rest, repair itself, give your digestive system and organs a break). So while I was skeptical, I did it. The first time is very hard. My stomach growled most of the day. I needed to plan to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t obsess about what I wasn’t eating. But it got easier each time and I was part of a Facebook group, all the other ladies are going through the same process, so there was experience sharing and mutual encouragement. I then started looking forward to these days and giving my body some ”digestive” rest.

Was I scared to try it ? Yes. But I trusted the process.

For the FASTer way to fat loss program I have been doing, she is not doing a 24 hour fast, but encourages fasting until lunch every day and having a ”shorter eating window”. What does this mean ? To put it simply, you do not eat breakfast, your first meal is at lunch, and you get your calories in between lunch & dinner. The ”eating window” is generally 6 to 8 hours. I thought this would be a piece of cake, seeing as how I was able to do a 24 hour fast, fasting until lunchtime sounded ”easy”. But not to say I wasn’t worried. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I was very worried. But I did my homework, read up on fasting and trusted the process.

The conclusion ? Intermittent fasting has been an amazing experience.

Since October, I have fasted until lunchtime 90% of my days, excluding the days I have races or long runs, then I eat breakfast.

And I learned something.  Quite a few things actually. There were a couple times where I hadn’t eaten enough the day before, and I was very hungry in the morning, so I decided to eat breakfast. And I observed what happened.

  1. Eating in the morning kick started my appetite. Every.single.time. Meaning if I had breakfast, I would eat much more during the day. It is like my appetite was revved up and I wanted to eat all day long. I noticed that when I ate breakfast, I would eat at least a third more than a day when I fasted until lunch (hello pounds that have creeped on !).
  2. Once I got over the hump of the initial stomach rumble in the morning, the hunger went away and my body got used to using stored fat for energy. I never felt hungry. I never had an insulin high then crash. Never felt sluggish mid morning. Not once. I needed to break through the initial knee jerk reaction of my stomach is rumbling = I need to put food in it.
  3. My body can function perfectly on 2 meals a day. Because the fasting trains your body to use fat for fuel, I am not hungry and my energy levels never plummet. Ever.

I believe that fasting, and particularly just fasting until lunch, has had a huge impact on the results that I am seeing.

  • My body has learned to use fat as fuel, rather than the constant stream of food I am putting into it
  • My calories & quantity of food has been significantly reduced (I strongly believe I was over eating)
  • I have a huge amount of energy
  • I am sleeping soundly
  • My mind is clear
  • I feel I am fueling my body with what it needs and I am not over feeding it
  • I have lost many inches around my midsection, and while it is not only linked to fasting, this was a big part of it

Before the experience of these past few months, I NEVER would have thought I could go without food for several hours. I was scared. Skeptical. More than skeptical, I thought it was crazy. But this experience has been hugely beneficial and helped me be less stressed. I don’t have to bring a snack with me. If I am traveling and don’t find something that immediately pleases me, I can wait. I can wait for food, and my body & mind will perfectly function. Because my body has learned to use food for fat.

I strongly believe you get fit in the gym and lose weight in the kitchen, so my fasting experience is coupled with 90% whole foods.

Disclaimer : I wouldn’t recommend trying fasting without the proper support or education. It works so well for me because it is built into a bigger lifestyle change and a program where I have slowly made modifications to my eating & exercise habits. I would recommend you read up on it and check out Amanda Tress and her on line programs (I was NOT paid to say that  !).

Have you ever tried fasting ?