The Book that Inspired me to Start Running

Hello readers!

Running is a hobby I never expected to pick up in my lifetime – I am short, with the kind of body that builds muscle more easily than it does aerobics, and I’m famously terrible at breathing (I have asthma) and at not fainting (I have vasovagal syndrome). However, I’ve been running for about a year now, and it’s for sure because I picked up this book:

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, by Misa Sugiura

29073707 Continue reading

Going Back to Running After I Stopped for Months


Hello readers!

It’s been a while since I posted about my fitness & health journey, for two reasons: first, I’ve been writing mostly my bookish posts I actually forgot to write these ones; second, I got crazy busy with work since last September and was too exhausted to exercise or run consistently for a solid four months – basically until this January. I was thinking of posting about the stuff I was doing in that meantime health-wise in order to be able to jump back into it when I had motivation/time, but somehow I didn’t post that.

For context: I suck at aerobics. I did a couch-to-5K training last year, signed up for a couple runs and basically changed my life in several ways to become healthier. I have a family history of heart disease, and also a history of depression & anxiety, and found that exercise helps with keeping my anxiety levels a bit down and gives me energy in a way that seems to keep depression at bay. My 5K is still very slow (and most of the time I can’t do it all in one go without walking) and I’m not a terribly fit person, but I swear by the “okay can be better than perfect” and so I keep going. For someone like me, running 1K without stopping was hard, painful and a huge accomplishment.

After 6 months or so of running, I had to stop for around 4months, doing only the occasional asthmatic and painful 3km run. Now I finally managed to go back to a routine of running a few times per week and started my 10K practice. Here’s how I managed to do that:

I continued some healthy habits & slowly started hyping myself up for running

Although I had no energy or time to go running for a while, some habits I had created since last year were easy to stick to – for example, I still meal prepped for work and kept my meat, milk and sweets consumption rather low. I cook at home more often than not. I know those aren’t manageable for everyone, but for me they work really well and I enjoy coming up with different recipes for meal prepping! That helped keep me healthy, even though I was not exercising anymore.

Once I decided to go back and my workload had gone a bit down (or at least more predictable), I started hyping myself up for running. For new runners like me, the most difficult thing about running is the mental aspect: endurance, motivation, habit. Actually running isn’t nearly as hard as pushing yourself to do it, or to keep doing it, to keep going when it’s hurting or you’re tired. So I find that watching videos about running advice, reading articles and checking out sports gear I’d like to buy eventually really helps me feel motivated to go!

At first I could barely finish 1 km without stopping

I have asthma, which gets MUCH worse in winter. I had difficulty finishing 1 km running mostly because of that, but also I felt tired and my legs felt like mush after not running for so long. But after a few runs it got better! It’s warmer now, which improves my breathing, but also the practice makes it much better. I didn’t have any difficulties with that since then, and my legs don’t hurt the same way. More importantly, I find it easier to push through now and keep going when I want to stop. My 1km turned to almost 8km last week.

I created a challenge with a friend up & chose a running goal

I am… quite competitive. I suck at running, but I suck even more at losing. A friend of mine is training for a half marathon (21K) and I went slightly over-competitive and was like OK LET’S DO A RUNNING CHALLENGE, and here we are. I hate losing, and I am a lot more disciplined if I know I might have a chance of winning if I run more often than he does. I’m going about 4x a week now.

I also decided that I would like to do a 10K this year, and chose a particular race that I ran last year as a 5K, and I’d love to run the 10K track this year. I signed up for a training plan (free with my sports watch, but you don’t need one – if you have a smartphone, there are several apps. My friend uses Runtastic for the half marathon training).

Oh, I also re-instated my reward program – I get new shoes, pants, protein powder, etc for some milestones. At first I made it only mildly challenging (running 5K nonstop again) and then increasingly challenging (running 600m of a very steep hill near my track at pace x, run 5K in x minutes, running 10K nonstop etc). I will run looking GOOD very soon!

When I was mentally ready to go, I broke my own records

Running is a mix of motivation and habit, and I needed to get my motivation back before making it again a habit, and that’s okay too. But once I felt the itch to run again, I was so hyped for it that after a couple weeks of practicing more and getting back into shape, I broke my own 5K record. Last week, I ran for over 7km nonstop (which is huge for a potato like me). So, what I mean is: it’s ok if you stop. For someone who’s never been a runner or particularly athletic, the 4 month stop felt like going back to zero, but you NEVER go back to zero once you have started already. Your brain and body remember it, and you get back into shape much quicker. It was so nice to see that I could go even further than before, when I was lighter and fitter!

Have you had to stop running for a while and then went back to it? How did it go for you? I’d love to get some tips on more things I can do to try and stay fit even if I can’t run. I still feel very new to it and like I have so much to learn.

Three of My Favorite Meat-Free Brazilian Recipes

Hello readers!

For those who don’t know, I’m Brazilian! I love food and I’ve been a reducetarean for 10 years now, so I’ve been experimenting a bit with vegetarian and vegan versions of my favorite Brazilian dishes for a while. I thought it would be interesting to add some recipes to my blog, and with Veganuary getting people interested in new recipes, it seems like a nice timing.

Brazilian cuisine is influenced by several cultures, so some of the typical things we eat come from other countries and have been adapted, which is why some of the recipes I post might look familiar. For this post, I needed to take photos of the food and there was not much time between asking on Twitter if I should post this and actually posting it, so this is just the Brazilian vegetarian or vegan food I cooked between New Year’s and today – it’s a very low-key, relaxed post.

Please excuse my English, it is not my mother tongue and it always shows when I talk about cooking. I also don’t really measure things, so I approximated. If you guys like this post, I can do others with more typical Brazilian food (vegan feijoada, Brazilian strogonoff etc) and other recipes that aren’t necessarily from my country but that I love.

I marked (V) for vegan and (VEG) for vegetarian.

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Lentil stew with rice (V)


This should be a rather generous amount of food, perhaps 4-5 people. Keep the leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days, or freeze it for eating at a later date. It will probably taste even better the next time you eat it because the spices infuse the lentils with more flavor when left to rest. The recipe is also healthy and full of protein. Continue reading

Listening to Audiobooks While Working Out & Running

Hello readers!

I’ve been quite terrible at keeping up with my workout schedules lately, but I’m still running about twice a week, and hopefully now that things have quieted down in my personal life, I can go back to kicking ass regularly!

I’m not the best multitasker ever, as I’m more of a focus-on-one-thing-at-a-time kind of person, but I loved the idea of listening to a book while working out and getting TWO things done at the same time, so I tried it out – here’s how it went!

The first book I listened to while working out was Skin Deep, which I listened to while on the treadmill. If you don’t know, I love running but I suck at it, and I’m pretty new to it, too. My main issue back then, and even now, is endurance – running for a sustained period of time. When I started, I did mostly walking at a fast pace and short periods of running in between, on the treadmill, and even that can be challenging for a beginner, so I thought Skin Deep helped keep me distracted, and I was so tense I ended up doing more running between walks than in other days. So, success! Continue reading

Signing Up for a Run when You’re (Mildly) Socially Anxious – A Survival Guide

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If you’ve read my other Fitness & Health Journey posts, you know by now that I’ve been attempting to run and joined the run my colleagues participate in every year, a 5K that is commonly run by literally thousands of people. And if you’ve known me for a while, you also probably know that I am socially anxious & generally awkward.

Between trying to act like a normal person, not get overwhelmed by the crowd and trying to survive the run although I suck at running, I did a few things that helped me go through this as smoothly as possible, and I thought today I’d share some of my tips that worked!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, neither do I work in mental health, sports or medicine. My social anxiety is mild to medium, and normally triggered by depression or being in groups and crowds, but I do not normally suffer from panic attacks and have been able to work and have a more or less “normal” social life for over a year now. If you have medium or severe anxiety, these tips will probably not be enough, and should at least be combined with medication and/or therapy. My aim with this post is to make life with social anxiety a bit easier for other people with things that help me, NOT to substitute proper medication and care, or to encourage socially anxious people to try an activity that is potentially triggering. Stay safe and do only what you can do. But if you are a runner and you’d like to join a race, I hope this article makes you feel less alone. Continue reading

Running as an Overweight Woman

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Hello readers!

I have been meaning to write this post for a while, and here it finally is! My experiences with running are, as always, just anecdotes and not to be taken as a rule or guideline, but I think they might resonate with someone and be helpful.

Running is a sport that has been predominantly male since forever. The first woman to run a marathon signed up for it against the rules and was famously pursued by one of the officials once she got found out DURING the run:

Did you know that people (*cof* men *cof*) thought that a woman’s uterus would literally fall off from running? Huh. Continue reading

Running with a sports watch vs. without one

Hello readers!

When I started running a bit more seriously than just as a warm up to my workouts, I figured a sports watch would be very helpful. I don’t like wearing watches very much and was a bit skeptical in the beginning, but all the people I know at work who run really recommended getting one, so I went online and bought the cheapest one I could find. It was really helpful! Keeping my heartbeat in check and finding out my pace and how far I was running was really good to help me structure my trainings and keep track of my performance.

Within a few months I decided to upgrade and got a really good running watch that measured things I didn’t even know existed (VO2 what). It was a data-lover’s dream come true. So many graphs!

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I love graphs

Theeen a couple months later the screen broke (it may or may not have been my fault). I returned it and now I’m waiting for the repair/replacement. It’s been about two months now that I haven’t used my watch (slow service is all kinds of fun). So I’ve been running without a sports watch for about the same time that I ran with it, and here are my impressions: Continue reading

Practicing Self-Love vs. Losing Weight

  grow self love self care riceisholy GIFHello readers!

This is a complicated topic, so I took a while to write about this, but I thought it would be nice to start a discussion.

It is no secret that I have been trying to lose weight for the last year and half. I struggled with the idea of actually telling you guys that I have weight loss as a goal, because I think most women have been worrying about their weight since forever (I remember first thinking I was too fat at 10 years old) and I didn’t want to add to the discourse. But the more honest approach is to say that I did want to lose weight among other fitness & health goals, and as much as I would love to not engage in this weight-loss-for-women discourse, I also feel it’s important to make my decision clear. Continue reading

What I Do When I Can’t Train


Hello readers!

Training as a routine thing, going to the gym every time you plan to go, never missing a workout, running 3x a week are all wonderful, idyllic dreams. Reality is: we get sick, we get tired, we get lazy, we go on vacation, we have to take care of other things that are priority. It can be frustrating to break your routine, especially if it’s for a long while.

When I can’t work out for a reason or another, here is what I try to do instead:

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I Inform Myself

Researching things takes time. If I’m not working out but also don’t have to do other things instead (so, for example, if I’m sick or injured, or vacationing), I like to use the extra time to watch videos, read articles and generally get more informed about how I can improve certain weight lifting moves, know more about the effect of sugar on the body, how to improve my running etc. Here are some of the videos and websites I thought were most informative: Continue reading

How I Deal with Frustration: not losing weight, junk food, being too tired to workout


Hello readers!

When trying to become healthier, whatever that means to each person, there is for most of us many, many times when we just want to give up. Not losing weight, being so tired, not seeing improvement, being out with people and feeling like you’re the odd one out eating a salad. I haven’t started my healthy journey now. It’s been a year since I started and I almost gave up many times. I broke my disciplined routine more times than I can count. It took me a full year of trial-and-error, but I had a LOT of time to think about my weak points, my psychological behavior, and find out why I felt frustrated and how to deal with it.

So the stuff I describe below comes from a lot of thinking, a lot of researching and seeing what WORKED for me. Continue reading