New Year, New You – No Way

New Year New You

“New Year, New You.”

This message is being pushed on us from all around this time of year. So many of us hear this and are left feeling guilty for our “sloth-like” and “gluttonous” behavior over the past season. Suddenly those celebratory glasses of champagne enjoyed with friends, cookies baked and joyfully eaten with family, and mornings spent sleeping in and resting rather than hitting the gym are criminal. All of a sudden, our lifestyle choices just aren’t good enough – we’re too lazy, too fat, and in dire need of fixing.

So we write long lists of 20+ new habits we’re going to instantly adopt as soon as January 1st rolls around to shed ourselves of our old, deplorable identities. People who haven’t used their gym membership since last January are vowing to hit the gym six times a week, complete a monthly juice fast, become a super yogi, and finally achieve the body they’ve always wanted – thigh gap and all, of course.

I’m all for working out, eating well, and trying to live a healthy life. However, I also strongly believe that one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is to practice self-love and self-acceptance. You don’t need to try to become a new person this year, because who you already are is good enough.

That being said, I’m not averse to setting goals. Participate in the January Whole30 if you want, or sign up for your first marathon, but don’t do it because you think you need to do these things in order to be a person of value. The diet industry and media are constantly trying to sell firm abs and toned triceps as true happiness – that without those things we’re just not enough. It’s just not true.

My goal for this year is be happy with myself right now. We are all enough as is, and we need to stop trying to be someone else. Let’s focus on what makes us special and wonderful right now. Let’s empower each other to practice self-love all year long. Let’s lovingly create goals and intentions that honor our bodies and spirits.

Rather than trying to be a “new you” this year, I urge you to respect where you are at this exact moment and all that you’ve gone through this past season of your life, embrace how it’s shaped you, and live a life that is shaped by love and joy, rather than self-hate.

You don’t need to be a “New You” in 2017. Just be you.

xoxo,

Melissa

Valentine’s Day Weekend Recap: Running, Sunshine, and Picnics

With temperatures in Oakland and San Francisco reaching (and happily relaxing into) the high 70s this past three-day weekend, my last few days have been filled with morning runs, long walks, Valentine’s Day indulgences, and picnics every freaking day. If there’s anything I love more than Mexican food, chocolate, and running, it’s a good picnic.

Saturday morning Michel and I woke up early to go to a Valentine’s Day fun run/scavenger hunt hosted by Fleet Feet SF in the Marina, which had us running all over Chestnut Street, up the Lyon Steps, and through the Presidio along with some other great singles and couples.

I met an amazing woman named Monica who, like me, has never been what you’d call a “natural athlete.” But what she lacks in athletic upbringing, she makes up for with an intense drive and sense of self-competition. She’s now running 50ks and has her first ultra coming up this spring! She left such an impression on me, telling me to “NEVER let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, or stop you from doing what you want to do.” This woman is a boss.

Feeling inspired (thanks, Monica!), slightly exhausted (the Lyon Steps are no joke), and increasingly hungry, Michel and I grabbed coffee and took a stroll down Union Street before hitting up Whole Foods for picnic staples and going to Dolores Park for our first picnic of the weekend.

Cheese + crackers + people and dog watching = the recipe for everlasting happiness.

Sunday included an early leg workout at my gym, church at Canvas in San Francisco (so good!), then a solo interval run and coffee shop time. After this, Michel surprised me by taking me to Lake Merritt in Oakland and pulling out flowers, as well as a bottle of wine and chocolate for a sunset picnic in my favorite place in the world. Perfection.

On Monday, we woke up really early, walked around the lake, got coffee, and made a plan to go to Grand Lake Kitchen, a well-reviewed brunch and lunch spot in Oakland that ALWAYS has a crazy-long wait. In fact, we arrived 20 minutes before they opened, and there was already a line! However, if you have tastebuds, don’t let this line deter you from this amazing place. I had the chilaquiles (!!!) and Michel had the pork belly hash, and both were AMAZING.

After that, I hit the park again with a good book and some sparkling water to soak up even more sunshine. (My white legs were thankful.)

I start my new job next Monday, so I’m kinda still on a mini-vaca and will be continuing to try to soak up as much sun as possible  over the next couple of days.

This morning’s agenda includes a long run through Golden Gate Park.

How did you spend your Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend? Whatever you did, I hope you treated yourself to something special and enjoyed being wherever you are.

With love,

Melissa

 

Running My Way to Positive Body Image & Self-Love

Melissa from Cook Slow Run Fast running by Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA.

 

Before I became a runner, I used to obsess about how much I weighed, how I looked, and what I ate. I fell into the same mental traps that many women (and men) have battled. My abs sure didn’t look like the woman’s on the cover of Self magazine, and I fixated on how my body would never compare to hers.

At the time, I thought that the best way to feel better about myself was to punish my body. I grew up with an aversion to running (I prayed for sickness every school mile day), so I deemed this as appropriate calorie-burning torture.

However, soon after I bought my first pair of running shoes since high school P.E., and got over the fact that thighs have the tendency to rub together when you jog, I forgot that I started this running thing out of self-hate.

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2016 Resolutions & Looking Forward to the New Year

Melissa Lopez from Cook Slow Run Fast jumping for joy in anticipation of the new year 2016.

Resolutions are a funny thing. Some people wait until January 1st of each year, and in one grandiose gesture, try to change EVERYTHING about themselves, only to realize by January 15th that they really hate running like a hamster on a treadmill and that cleaning out a juicer every morning is one of the worst tasks in the world. On the other hand, some people are vehemently against anything resembling a resolution and roll their eyes at anyone who buys the January 1st gym membership.

 

I suppose I stand somewhere in the middle. I believe that we should always keep learning and growing, that to not intentionally want anything new from the upcoming 12 months is like turning your nose up to lots of awesome self-discovery, good stories, and knowledge.

 

However, I have also learned that tons of unrealistic resolutions set at the same time won’t work either, and can overshadow other important aspects of your life.

 

For me, having a successful year is about identifying how I want to feel overall and being flexible enough to let life happen and guide me where I’m supposed to be.

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