Mental Motivation

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Today, I have 4 miles on my marathon training schedule, but I’m just not feeling it. It’s only the first week of NYCM training, so there’s absolutely no reason for such low motivation. I guess I’m just feeling lazy and tired this morning. Maybe a workout is exactly what I need to get me out of my funk? Maybe I just need some mental motivation? Exercise mantras usually do the trick for me. Maybe I should remind myself of some of my favorites.

As you can see, I’m really trying to bust through this motivational roadblock so I go for my run and don’t skip it all together. Mind over matter.

Last Night’s Dinner

Last night’s dinner was fun! We met Mal’s cousin, Hilary, and her fiancé, Jamie, at the Beehive in the South End for dinner.

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The Beehive is such a hip place. I really love the sophisticated yet laid-back vibe. I’ve only ever enjoyed drinks at the Beehive, so I was excited to try out their food last night.

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Mal and I arrived early, so we grabbed a drink at the bar while we waited. I ordered a dirty vodka martini with olives. It was amazing.

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A little while later, Hilary and Jamie arrived, so we grabbed a table in the dining room. The live jazz music during dinner was a nice surprise!

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I definitely didn’t need a second martini, but I ordered another one anyway and drank the whole thing. Nice job, Tina. I’m fairly confident that drinking my face off last night is the reason for my low motivation this morning. Oh, well. At least I had fun during dinner!

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To eat, I ordered the Shortrib, Farmhouse Cheddar & Fontina Grilled Cheese, which was pretty outstanding, flavor- and ingredient-wise, but the bread sort of overpowered the sandwich. It was super thick, so every bite was a huge mouthful of bread. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that (I love bread!), but it made the sandwich seem like there wasn’t much more to it.

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On the side, Mal and I shared an order of the Beehive Frites with Sage & Sea Salt, which were excellent”” slightly crispy on the outside with lots of sage flavor. We finished almost the entire portion!

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We were all pretty tired after dinner, so we headed home and went right to bed.


This morning, I woke up bright and early to make our guests some really good pancakes.

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While I whipped up the batter and cooked the pancakes, Hilary and Jamie kept Murphy company. He loved all of the extra attention.

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I topped my pancakes with banana slices and maple syrup. Delish!

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Hilary and Jamie just left our house to drive up to a wedding in New Hampshire. It was a quick visit, but it so nice to see them!

Three Questions Thursday

I love all of your questions for Three Questions Thursday! Keep ”˜em coming!

Are you gluten-free? Were you tested for celiac? Why are you eating dairy again?

Short answer: I’m still an everything eater. I feel a zillion times better, so I’m pretty much back to normal eating again, which means veggies, fruit, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, etc. I am, however, watching my intake of gluten since it made such a drastic improvement with my colitis symptoms. I tested negative for celiac disease, so I still plan to eat foods with gluten. I’m just not going to go crazy with them (aka drinking five beers in one night).

For the last couple of months I haven’t been myself really. I haven’t been going to the gym or even wanting to eat healthy. I still try, but I just snack a whole lot more now. I guess what I’m asking for is motivation? I’m not really sure, maybe I just need a change of pace? Because I am tired of my same workouts and not seeing any difference in my body and I’m tired of eating the same foods. 

When I start to lose motivation with regard to my healthy eating and exercise routine, I take a step back and refocus. What works for me is a little inspiration, some positive thinking, and strengthened self-discipline. Here are some tactics that help me stick to my healthy habits:

  • Read a healthy living or fitness blog: When I’d rather eat nachos for dinner than have a healthy meal, I read some of my favorite blogs for inspiration. I almost always find a recipe or a few words of advice that make me want to change my attitude. Similarly, sending out a message on Twitter to my followers can also help spur some motivation to get myself back on track. They never let me skip a workout!
  • Make a change NOW: Instead of waiting to start my healthy eating or a new exercise routine on Monday, I make changes right away. I prepare a healthy meal or throw on my sneakers for a jog around my neighborhood. Even just having a plan of attack helps; scheduling some workouts or planning a few healthy meals enables me to feel more in control and boosts my motivation.
  • Set a goal: Similar to the trick above, I set a goal for myself with a plan of action to achieve it. Sometimes, it’s registering for a road race and using SmartCoach to create a training plan. Other times, it’s just a goal to exercise a certain number of times in a week and planning out my workouts into my Google Calendar. Having a game plans always motivates me and makes me feel in control of my health.
  • Visualize who I want to be: When I’ve fallen off the wagon and start to feel depressed about the decisions that I am making, I think about my healthiest self. Going back to a time when I felt strong, fit, and vivacious always makes me want to strive for it again.
  • Chat with a motivated friend: If I’m really struggling to get back on track, I chat with a friend who is super-motivated. Chatting with her usually makes me want to adopt similar changes in my lifestyle. Her willpower and self-discipline is contagious and always seems to give me the jump start that I need.

Do you and Mal plan to have kids?

Yes, we plan to have kids, but not for a long, long time. Mal and I love our life and little family the way it is right now, so kids just aren’t in the picture. Sorry, Mom and Marion! I realize that there is never really a “right” time to start a family, but our lives are too crazy to add baby into the mix. Plus, hardly any of our friends have kids, so I don’t want to be the first changing diapers!

Question of the Day

How do you psych yourself up for a workout? What are your exercise mantras?



  1. love love love love love LOVE the beehive. literally my favorite place in the city to grab a drink or enjoy dinner in an awesome atmosphere. i’m all about ambiance and the beehive is just perfect. and i’ve never had a bad meal (or mojito).

      1. @Tina: well you can never go wrong with a good dirty. unless of course … you do. then err’body better watch out. Billy has set up a strict dirty martini rule for me: the boob rule. One is not enough, but three is too many. you hit the sweet spot with two.

  2. Whenever I don’t feel like working out, either because I’m feeling lazy or tired (or both!), I just make myself go anyway. I have NEVER regretted a workout, but I have regretted NOT working out many, many times. Just go for it, Tina. Anything is better than nothing!

  3. I give myself about a five-minute window to get up, get out of bed and get going! haha…if I don’t go running FIRST thing, I don’t go. Of course this does not work on non-running days, because I am usually taking a class at a specific time. But for me, running is so mental. It helps to literally not think, just GO 🙂

  4. I try to imagine the feeling I will get after my workout is over. I put myself in that situation for a minute or two . The sense of accomplishment, boost of mood and energy, and overall “high.” Once I bring myself there, it isn’t hard for me to go for it.

  5. Think about it this way: We have nicer weather in the Boston area than we have had all week! 74 degrees out and breezy! Think about how awesome it will be to go outside for a jog and not feel like you’re in an oven!

  6. Great post! I try to really listen to my body, and plan out my workout time all week. It really helps me stay motivated. I try to put it on my calendar, and schedule workouts with friends. Getting it over with in the morning is great, then it’s not hanging over your head all day. Stay positive and find different workouts, keeps it fun and fresh!

  7. I totally feel you on the whole “lack of motivation” thing. I’ve never been big on working out for fun and it’s always way too easy to talk myself out of a run. I like the tip on trying to envision who you want to be. I think that will help me in the long run! (pun intended!)

  8. These are GREAT tips. I often refer to Carrots N Cake the book, when I need motivation!

    Nice response to a very personal question! I am about a billion years away from kids, but this morning my boyfriend said he dreamed I was pregnant. I replied that was a nightmare, not a dream.

  9. Mine is definitely you never regret a workout. I focus on how good I’ll feel afterwards and how bad I’ll feel if I skip it.

    I also try to view workouts as non-negotiable appointment – I wouldn’t skip a meeting for work or seeing friends so why would I skip my workout?

  10. Hey– How are you balancing your gluten intake? Pancakes obviously have gluten– are you just eating it less or trying to be totally gluten free? And is eating less still helping your stomach as much as days you go without any gluten? Am trying to be gluten-free, but finding it challenging, esp on social occasions…

  11. “do more than you think you can” is my exercise mantra. it really helps when I’m getting to the end and think I’m done, but I can get one more set or one more rep or one more mile out!

  12. Rather than having gluten intolerance, you might have a problem with fructans, the starch in wheat. Some people don’t digest or absorb them well, causing problems, ahem, further down. I think this is more common than people think and is probably the culprit when people think they are only a little gluten intolerant. IBS Free At Last is a good book/blog that’s helped me get my symptoms under control and covers fructans.

  13. Whenever I don’t feel like working out (such as yesterday…) I remind myself, remember how good you feel when you finish your workout and how bad you feel when you skip it? Just jump on a machine and start moving, and 10 minutes in you’ll start feeling better!

  14. I’d say to psych myself up, I’m a “just do it” kinda girl. I like to get up, get going, get it done. I also think about how great I’ll feel afterward. That meal looks sooooo good…I want those fries…and yesterday was national French fries day, so the perfect time to indulge. 😉 Glad to hear you can enjoy your favourites!

  15. It’s so hard to get motivated sometimes – especially when those “few extra minutes” in the morning are just calling your name. This is going to sound a little nuts, but I give myself a pep talk before bed about why I should really get up and go to the gym in the morning. It really does help! I swear. 🙂

  16. If I’m in a workout slump, I first try a “better than nothing” workout, which I learned about from Guiliana Rancic in an interview. She does something active that’s simply better than doing nothing, whether it be walking while reading a magazine or tossing a ball around. After my “better than nothing” workout (which is usually taking the pup for a walk), I feel more motivated for my real workout!

  17. I’m a morning exerciser and take group fitness classes, so knowing my gym buddies are there motivates me to go and I always remind myself how much better I’ll feel afterwards…as well as downing a strong cup of coffee always helps too 😉

  18. Hope your motivational mojo comes back soon! (seems so many bloggers I follow are struggling to keep motivated right now. And I’m feeling it myself) I’ll take your tips to heart and get back to the energy. Have a good day.

  19. Those fries look delicious – and sometimes you just need a second drink, even you don’t really “need” it! Love the pancakes too – I definitely need more pancakes in my life!

  20. I love question thursday!
    You work from home, so making your lunch can never get boring since you have a whole kitchen to choose from everyday. I get SO jealous of this! I am trying control what i eat, but after the past month eating the same boring packed lunch…. i need new ideas…… my lunch is so becoming the same that i am unmotivated to eat it. Can you do a post on packed lunch suggestions for people who dont work at home and follow your blog? 🙁

  21. Those pancakes look amazing!!! Yummy! Maybe I’ll whip some fun breakfast this weekend with our new waffile iron 🙂 I definitely hit a wall (exercise wise) shortly after we returned from our honeymoon. The wedding was over and so was my motivation. I took a couple of days to refocus my goal & now I’m back on track. I just think about the hard work that brought me to where I am, and there’s no way in hell I want to re-do all of that with a few poor choices. Plus I have still have some more weight I’d like to lose.

  22. I usually wake up and workout so in order to not crawl back into my wonderful comfortable bed I do some jumping jacks or high knees and any crazy dance moves my body can come up with. That gets me going!

  23. I hope you went out and did your run – it’s relatively cool out!

    I do the “just do it for a bit, and then you can give up” method. And it works – I never want to stop once I started.

    I don’t have a mantra yet; I want to get one, just haven’t found one that sticks. Maybe “You’ve done this before”? Mostly because there are days when I can’t believe I’ve done 10 miles, 3 seems so looonnng…

  24. Do you mind if I ask, are you absolutely sure that you have Colitis (diagnosis through gastroscopy/colonoscopy etc) and that it wasn’t some kind of horrible extended virus/parasite? I’m not asking that to be rude AT ALL or to in any way minimise your suffering, it’s just that I have and also have a strong family history of Ulcerative Colitis, Gastroenteritis, and Crohn’s, and I’ve spent weeks at a time stuck in the gastroenterology ward at the hospital and I’ve never seen anyone recover so quickly. I’m both totally pleased for you and totally envious!

    1. @Laura: Yes. I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy where the doctor took multiple biopsies, which showed colitis. He also tested me for a number of viruses/parasites, which all came back negative. I was taking 5 different drugs at one point, so maybe that did it?

      1. @Tina: So is Colitis something that you’ll always have now, and have flare-ups of, or has it been cured? Thank GOD it’s gone for now, either way! It sounded awful 🙁

  25. When I’m feeling unmotivated, I just remind myself of how good I feel afterwards. When I am running, my mantra is “Be light. Be strong. Feel Power.” I know its a bit cheesy but it really helps me focus and not dwell on the negative thoughts in my head (like “I’m tired and I can’t do this”). I have an extra Thursday question for you: How do you get past the mental block of running long distances? I physically feel like I could probably run 5+ miles but it seems mentally exhausting.

  26. I’m going to the Beehive next week for a concierge dinner. Very excited! I’ve been there for drinks but never for dinner.

    When I feel less than motivated, I just look at a picture back when I was unhappy with myself and how I don’t want to end up there again. That usually gets my butt in gear. I also love the way I feel now and I don’t want that to change. 🙂

    So glad to hear you’re feeling better!

  27. So weird that I think about this in the car, but randomly the other day in the car I was wondering if you and Mal planned to have kids haha. Anyway, I have been married for a year and am also no where near ready to have kids. It makes me feel better to have you say that too because I also don’t have many friends with kids but I feel like everyone is more ready than me and I’m like hmm whats wrong with me haha.

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  29. I LOVE the Beehive, it’s so easy to get a little drunky there 🙂 I really enjoyed their food too but missed the Beehive Frites, I’ll definitely have to go back and try those!

  30. I psych myself up by saying that all I have to do is DRIVE myself to the gym. That’s such an easy thing to do. Once I walk in, I get a surge of motivation and am always ready to get down to business. The drive over is the worst, but it’s all downhill from there… kinda 😉

  31. Hi Tina,

    I’m glad you guys had a fun time at the Beehive! So great. Next time try their tuna tartare, its the best I’ve ever had ANYWHERE!

  32. I’m sure some of your readers have commented on this already, but as someone who is gluten intolerant and familiar with the symptoms, I wanted to share that one of my biggest issues is the fatigue and utter lack of motivation that descends upon me when I do eat something with gluten in it, usually the next day. I get a lot of physical issues too, but the huge difference in my mental well-being really surprised me. Just a thought! Sounds like you’re busting through those walls though 🙂

  33. Tina I am in the completely opposite situation- all of our friends have/are having kids and my husband and I are are one of the last couples standing without kids! It’s weird when the group dynamics change from hanging out to changing diapers. But true friends stick by you no matter what! 🙂

  34. Oh my goodness, I’m still working on this one. If I don’t do my workouts the same time on the same days there’s a possibility it won’t occur. Due to schedule conflicts I couldn’t run my scheduled 4 miles yesterday. So I said, “oh I’ll do it tonight” (got hm too late), then it was “I’ll do it in the morning before church” (alarm sounded, and I cut if off heehee), and the list goes on.

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