Reimagining the Narrative Around Fitness

The relationship with ourselves, including our bodies, is the most important one we will ever have. It’s our vehicle for living life and a part of who we are. That’s why learning to treat it with respect and celebrating its strengths is imperative. Today, Logan Russell (a.k.a. “Lolo”) is sharing her mission in changing our relationship with food and fitness. Lolo is a blogger HOKA was originally introduced to through our partnership with Zappos. She is a body love advocate based out of Charlotte, North Carolina who strives to inspire women to embrace their bodies and celebrate their personal style. To learn more about her journey, check out her blog LoloRussell.com or find her on Instagram @lolo_russell.

Everyone has their own agenda going into a workout: to push our body to the next level, maintain our health, or maybe we need that blissful release of endorphins. Fitness, especially running, has the power to completely transform our bodies and minds. It’s an opportunity to do something good for ourselves both physically, mentally and emotionally.

Unfortunately for many of us, especially this time of year, exercise becomes a form of punishment rather than a positive experience. Instead of lacing up our shoes with the intention of doing something good for ourselves we walk into a workout focused on how many calories we need to burn to compensate for last night’s dessert, the distance we will push to earn a meal or hours needed to make our goal weight. It’s a toxic pattern that must be stopped: it’s time we change the narrative surrounding fitness from punishment to empowerment.

TiesWe’ve all fallen prey to the winter binge-regret routine at some point in our lives. As someone who has recovered from an eating disorder, I know this story all too well. Many of us indulge in sweets and lavish meals during the holidays only to spend the first part of the new year punishing ourselves for enjoying the season. This cycle ends up setting the tone for our relationship with food and fitness. In each month that follows as we choose to eat a simple treat, like a perfectly flaky butter croissant or a slice of pizza, and we think something along the lines of “I’ll need to run later to work this off.” What’s the point of doing something if you’re just going to punish yourself later? Are you really going to reap the full benefit of your workout if you’re busy beating yourself up? Life is too short to miss out on the joys of this world. That includes both pizza and running!

RunningsLet’s work on shifting that inner dialogue. Every time we choose to move our bodies with the intention to serve them we are honoring ourselves. It is a moment to embrace the life we have, block out everything else in this world to focus on us and come out the other side of it a better version than we went in (albeit more sweaty, tired and maybe a little sore). Sure, it isn’t always easy. There are days where the thought of running one more mile makes me want to crawl back in bed! But nothing truly worth having ever comes easy, right? We have to work for it. That includes choosing to work toward a more positive mindset with our workouts.

This is the resolution I want you to keep this year: enjoy food that serves your body and soul, let it fuel fitness that does the same. When you choose to indulge change the internal dialogue from “I’m going to regret this” to “I’m going to enjoy every moment.” When you step out for your run don’t think “I’m working off all this weight.” Instead, remind yourself “I am strong, I am capable, I am celebrating my body.”

Shop the Clifton 6 Lolo is wearing HERE:
C6 RG

Fast Food: Breakfast Acorn Squash Two Ways

Grocery stores are filled with beautiful squash varieties this time of year, but it can be overwhelming figuring out how to actually use them. Here are two easy and unique ways to enjoy acorn squash for breakfast. A Roasted Acorn Squash with Yogurt and Walnuts for those of you with a morning sweet tooth, and a Sausage and Egg Roasted Acorn Squash for those in need of a hearty breakfast.

Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash with Yogurt and Walnuts

(serves 2)

sweet-squash

1 acorn squash

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch of salt

1 cup vanilla yogurt

ingredients-1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut acorn squash in half. Remove seeds and fibrous threads. Slice halves into wedges. Place wedges in a pan over aluminum foil. Prepare wedges by rubbing with coconut oil, and sprinkling on salt and cinnamon. Bake wedges for 30-40 minutes, or until they are soft. While wedges are baking, prepare filling by mixing walnuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Remove wedges from the oven, and spoon mixture onto squash. Return to oven for 20 minutes, or until edges are slightly crispy. Be careful not to burn the walnuts. Top with your favorite yogurt, and a drizzle extra maple syrup on top if desired.

nuts

Sausage and Egg Roasted Acorn Squash

(Serves 2)

savory

1 acorn squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper for seasoning

2 large sausages (Italian style vegetarian sausage also works well)

1 tomato

1 cup spinach

1/4 cup cheese

2 eggs

1/2 avocado

ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice acorn squash in half. Remove seeds and fibrous threads. Place halves in a pan over aluminum foil. Prepare squash by rubbing with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Bake halves for 30-40 minutes, or until they are soft. While the squash is baking, prepare the filling by sautéing sliced sausage, spinach, and chopped tomato. Remove squash from the oven, and place filling in the halves. To create more room, you can scoop out some of the squash and mix it with the filling. Top with cheese, and crack one egg on top of each half. Return to the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the egg has cooked to desired consistency. For a more cooked egg, finish off cooking with your broiler. Remove from oven, and top with fresh avocado.

sausage

Fast Food: Halloween Stuffed Peppers

Halloween may be all about the candy, but here is an equally festive way to enjoy the holiday while sneaking some veggies in. These jack-o-lantern inspired stuffed bell peppers are half the mess of a traditional pumpkin, and simple enough for your kids to be involved in the preparation.

Our filling is an easy no prep involved burrito style. We know how busy Halloween on a Monday night will be. However, you can be as fancy as you want with your creation. Cooked ground meat with taco seasoning would be a great addition to up the protein. Salsa, sour cream, and avocado would also make delicious toppings.

peppers

Here is what you will need to make your own Jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

3-4 orange bell peppers

1 small can black beans

1 small can enchilada sauce

1 package pre-cooked Spanish rice

peppers-before

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut tops off of peppers and remove seeds. Carve peppers with desired jack-o-lantern style faces. Layer spoonfuls of rice, enchilada sauce, black beans, and cheese in the peppers. There will likely be room for two layers. Finish with cheese as the top layer. Replace tops of peppers. Place in an aluminum foil lined tray, and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until peppers have softened and cheese has melted.

Fast Food: Healthy Chocolate Avocado Pie for National Chocolate Day

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Who doesn’t love avocados?

So why don’t we stick them together?

Alright, so we can admit that chocolate and avocado sounds like an odd combination. But trust us, this one really works.

When we were searching for healthy ways to indulge on National Chocolate Day, we found that avocado is just as good with chocolate as it is with guac…when you know what you’re doing. You’ll never guess that this green fruit (yes fruit) is hiding in your pie. It actually provides a lovely pudding like consistency.

Healthy? Check.

Easy? Just blend and refrigerate.

Vegan? Yup (when you are selective about your chocolate and graham crackers).

Gluten Free? Not quite. Substitute the graham crackers for a nut of your choice if you would like it to be gluten free.

Don’t take our word for it, try it! Here is what you’ll need.

pie

Crust:

One sleeve graham crackers

5 pitted Medjool dates

1/4 cup coconut oil

Filling:

2 large or 3 small avocados

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

5 pitted Medjool dates

Pinch of salt

Start by blending one sleeve of graham crackers in a food processor. Once finely crushed, add pitted dates and coconut oil. Pour crust filling into a round pie tin, and press into sides of the pan. Pack the crust tightly, then refrigerate while preparing the filling.

graham-crackers

Rinse food processor. Blend avocados until smooth. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring occasionally to avoid burning (Recommended: 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds). Add melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt to the avocado. Blend until well combined. Add coconut oil and pitted dates to the mixture. Blend until mixture is smooth. Consistency should be thick. If it is not thick, add more dates and coconut oil.

crustPour chocolate mixture into crust and spread. Let set in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving.

Fast Food: 3 Ingredient Healthy Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies

Have you ever been tempted to eat cookies for breakfast? Well, now you can with all the chewy goodness and none of the guilt. Or even better, you can trick your kids into eating oatmeal.

All you need for these Fall inspired Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies is three ingredients, an overripe banana, canned pumpkin, and quick oats. We recommend sneaking in a few chocolate chips and cinnamon, but additional mix ins are up to you!

Try reaching for a couple of these cookies before you go for the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte for your Fall pumpkin fix. A standard size clocks in at 380 calories and almost 50 grams of sugar. Enjoy two of these cookies for about 200 calories, only 22 grams of sugar, and lots of slow absorbing carbs to keep you full for your run.

cookies-snall

Ingredients

1 ripe banana

1/3 cup canned pumpkin (can substitute with an additional banana)

1 cup quick oats

Optional: Chocolate chips, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, raisins, dried cranberries, peanut butter, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, pinch of salt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place banana in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork until large chunks are blended. Add canned pumpkin and mix. Add oats and mixed until well blended. Mixture should be thick, wet, and sticky. Add more canned pumpkin if too dry, or more oats if too wet. Add in optional mix ins and stir. Grease baking sheet. Roll dough into 8 individual balls, and flatten to desired cookie shape. Pack tightly to avoid breakage. Bake for 15 minutes.