Monday, March 14, 2011

Accentuate the Positive

Motivation can come in many shapes and forms. There's the need to succeed, the drive that pushes you onward. There's the sense of accomplishment and pride. There's that sweet voice whispering in your ear, telling you that you can do anything.

And of course, every coin has it's flip side. There's a darker side to motivation also. And that's what I want to talk about in this week's Eat.Live.Be.

It's been a long hard road to change my motivation style from something negative to something positive. A long way from "you'll never do it" to "you can do anything." For years, the thing that kept me going was an unhealthy voice in my head that goaded me into working out. Thoughts like "You'll always be fat and ugly." "If you weren't such a slob you wouldn't need to go to the gym." "You're such a quitter." I told myself that skipping one gym class, one run, would make me the failure I knew in my heart of hearts I was. Sure it kept me going and running, but the cost wasn't pretty. There were days when I'd head to the gym with a fever so high, I'd throw up in the bushes after. Days when I'd forgo sleeping to get in an extra workout.

I don't know exactly what the turning point was. When it dawned on me that this form of motivation was detrimental and not healthy. I can remember the first day I struggled with this new knowledge. It was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A day where we fast all day, and that includes drinking water. I got up early to get a run in before synagogue, like I do every year. And I awoke with a migraine. And I sat for a good 10 minutes debating with myself whether I should head out for a run or not. I was in a great deal of pain, wouldn't be able to eat or drink anything all day, and I seriously considered still heading out. But I didn't. And that was a huge accomplishment for me. I recognized it, even then. I still look back on that moment as the moment I learned to motivate myself in positive ways. To take the rest I needed. To exercise for the right reasons - reasons like feeling good about myself, and not making myself feel bad.

It's important to have self motivation. It's important to have a little voice in your head. But it's also important you're getting the right motivation, the right little voice. A little voice that cheers you on and tells you how strong and fabulous you are. A little voice that doesn't beat you up for skipping a workout, but says "hey friend, it's okay, you're going to make up for it tomorrow - there's always another workout!"

Next week's topic is a breakdown of "a day in the life."

And here are a list of the other bloggers participating:

In honor of my motivational turnaround, I present you something completely different. Something I've never made before that turned out pretty well! It's always nice when you take a risk that turns out, it builds your confidence to take more risks. This risk was with oxtail. Since I didn't know how tough or tender it was, I went with braising. If you remember from my short ribs, braising makes any cut of meat fall off the bone. I did a little bit of research before braising these puppies and found out that they tend to be a little fatty. So I read a tip to cool them down, remove the fat, and then reheat. Makes for a nice tender, nonfatty meal!

Braised Oxtail
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
2 lbs oxtail
1 onion, sliced thin
3/4 cup beef broth
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf

1. Preheat oven to 300. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper and roll the oxtail in this mixture.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet and brown the meat.
3. Transfer to a covered casserole. Cook the onions in the remaining fat/butter in the skillet.
4. Once the onions are browned, place them on top of the meat. Pour the broth and tomatoes over and add 1 cup water.
5. Add the bay leaf, cover, and cook for 3 hours.
6. Cool, remove the fat, reheat and serve.


  1. Motivation is the key I am sometimes missing to a healthy routine!!!

  2. I LOVE oxtail - I make oxtail soup all of the time. Itis the most succulent meat EVER (well, short ribs, too)
    Love what you said here: A long way from "you'll never do it" to "you can do anything."
    Brilliant! Wish we could find how to get to the magic button that makes it such a short trip some days.

  3. Oh my your post is exactly what I needed to read today. I am working so hard to get the switch to flip in me. I make it for days/weeks and then I flood myself with negative thoughts. Thanks for the inspiration and allowing me to realize that I am not alone in these thoughts and I can change!

  4. I've definitely known that kind of negative motivation and it's so great when you finally free yourself from it! I still have my moments but they are fewer and farther between. Thanks for sharing this with Eat.Live.Be!

  5. What a lovely post - even healthy habits can get out of control. Accentuating the positive is the healthiest way to go. I agree with braising the oxtail - just look at your tender results!

  6. This was a wonderful post to share with your readers. A gentle reminder that motivation if used incorrectly can be unhealthy!.
    The ox tails look really good. I know that I would enjoy them .


  7. I am glad to hear you have the proper motivation, and inner dialogue, these days. Every day is a different path on the journey of life and you have to enjoy it. :)