“Vrijdag Koelkast Kijkdag” or in other words: Fridge Friday. That sounds much better in English ;-). I am delighted to introduce our first guest blogger: Renée Shortz. She is originally from the US and she will be writing in English. That means that people who can’t read Dutch (which are quite a few people in the world) are able to read blogs on this website from now on. I think it’s great news. So meet Renée and her fridge!
Who are you, Renée?
I’m Renée, 47 years young, living in Arnhem. I moved to the Netherlands in 1994 for work and lived in Bussum, Eemnes, Nieuwegein and Den Haag before landing in the Beautiful East.
Where do you originally come from?
I’m originally from the US. I was born in New Mexico (a state right above “old” Mexico) and lived about 8 years of my life there, 13 in Chicago and the suburbs and 4 years in Portland, Oregon.
Want to tell us something about your personal life? Are you married? And do you have Children?
I am married to Ron and we have 4 cats and 3 fish. We all live together in our little flat. I also have two step-kids (15 + 18 years old) who live in the Achterhoek who are with us every other weekend.
What do you do in terms of work?
I work in finance administration at a large company in Arnhem. I have always worked in an office, either in finance or logistics. Due to some uncertainties last year with my job I decided to do a course in Sports Massage. About 12 years ago I signed up for a course but did not finish it because I didn’t feel confident with my language skills. This time I decided it just had to happen and perhaps maybe I just had to work harder since it would be in my second language. What I didn’t realise is that I would also have to learn quite a lot in Latin as well (for Anatomy)!
And in terms of sport?
I started running in March 2009. It was also my second attempt! I wanted to lose weight and at the time the C25K programme was just becoming popular. I have been active on and off in my adult life running has now been the most consistent sport I’ve done.
I also like to bike but I don’t have a fancy racing bike. I’m attracted to other sports like cross-fit and boot camp but I lack the confidence to go to these classes. Because I’ve had a problem with my weight I often still consider myself the “fat girl” and don’t dare try.
You do have a Blog yourself, can you tell something about it?
I started my blog (www.lowfatpie.com/blog) to help keep me accountable. I was following Weight Watchers at that time (2009) for about the 10th time… At that time there were internet groups and clubs and community boards… I started reading other blogs and thought I could do that as well.
I didn’t have much of a plan with it and sometimes I actually think I’ll stop blogging altogether but it’s hard to let it go. It’s good to go back sometimes to see what you’ve accomplished, especially if you are not feeling very positive. The blog has become way less about diet and more about running, races, travel (to races) and “just life”. I’m currently in my 2nd year as a Rock’n’Blogger (for the Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series) so that is one huge reason why I keep blogging (to keep up on my commitment).
Have you always been that sporty?
No, not at all. When I was young I was small and had huge, thick glasses. I was very clumsy. I would try to play sports and always end up injured. Eventually I was that kid who was last to be picked for teams! But I did swim (in the summer, the pool was our babysitter), I biked around town and when I was a bit older I walked everywhere when other teenagers had a car. Once I left high school and entered the real world I started gaining a lot of weight and only sporadically exercised. I was not overweight at all when I was young, but I thought I was! So that created a lot of body image issues as I became an adult.
Do you think sports is important?
Now I think being active is VERY important. I can’t live without it. I feel better about myself and the accomplishments that I’ve had so far give me a lot of self-confidence.
And what about food. Do you think food is important?
I think food is also very important, however, I have a tricky relationship with food. For the most part I know now what I need to do to stay at a healthy weight, however there are still times when I am sad or lonely or depressed and I tend to turn to food in a negative way. I also developed a habit when I was young of “secret eating” – basically eating alone somewhere and hiding any evidence so no one would know it happened. Luckily I am 98% over this habit but I have to occasionally remind myself that negative use of food won’t make me feel better.
What is your favorite dish or product?
Oh gosh, this is a tough one! My husband is an excellent cook so most of what he makes ends up on my favourites list! My true favourite is Mexican food – unfortunately here in the Netherlands it’s not the same as at home so I don’t have it a lot. I’d say my second favourite is an Indian Dahl curry.
As for products, it goes in phases, but I used to be vegetarian and still love things like baba ghanoush and hummous and pretty much any kind of spicy bean spread. I’m much more of a hearty-type than a sweet-type.
You eat according to a certain diet?
No, not anymore. I have probably tried every diet there is though! What I do now is basically try to keep it clean and natural. So, no junk, no packets, no frozen pizzas, chips, that sort of thing.
I use MyFitnessPal to keep track of my food and my macros. I try to get a good balance of carbs, proteins and good sources of fat. I don’t drink very much alcohol anymore, maybe 4 – 8 units a month. If I’m training I am focused more on food and will have even less alcohol, maybe even none.
What are your current goals?
I am generally always training for something! Up until end of 2014 it was for Half-Marathons. Then I started running Marathons in 2015. I just had foot surgery so I’m having a little break to recover but will start again with marathon training in June.
What does an average day in terms of food look like?
I would say it’s quite boring but I have:
Breakfast – two slices of toast with 1 or 2 soft-boiled eggs. I may have something on the toast like cream cheese, hummous or avocado. And coffee. I don’t go anywhere without coffee.
Snack – an apple, banana and/or mandarin. A cappuccino from the machine at work.
Lunch – a huge salad with the basis of tomatoes, red onion, bell peppers and spinach. For protein maybe some chickpeas, chicken, tuna or a soft-boiled egg.
Snacks – a sandwich of two slices of bread, dijon mustard and turkey breast. Yoghurt or Kwark with fruit and some honey. maybe some crackers with some bean spread.
Dinner – we regularly have some type of homemade curry, or pasta or a stir fry with tons of vegetables. 99% fresh ingredients. Coconut oil used when cooking.
Wow, healthy choices! And besides that?
I sometimes eat a few squares of chocolate in the evening (dark) or if I get hungry a cracker with peanut butter. And tea. I drink lots and lots of herbal tea. Sometimes I think I’m hungry and I have tea and that feeling goes away. The mind is a powerful thing for a former fat girl.
Are there any tips you have for our readers?
My biggest tip for anyone reading is: remember that this is your own journey. I see many people getting caught up in what others are doing and they get hurt or injured either physically or mentally. Stay YOU and keep working towards your own greatness.
Where can we find you Renée?
You can find me mostly on the streets of Arnhem and when I’m finished with school I’ll be at SocialMile on Wednesday evenings and of course and Monday Runners Day. I train at Fit for Free at the Enk in Arnhem. At the moment I do sports massage in my home but I am mobile so I can go to others with my table and gear. There will be more developments on sport massage in the near future.
Can you tell us something about guest blogging at Run-way Girls?
I think it’s exciting to open up Run-way Girls internationally and am looking forward to providing a native-English speaking voice. I have some ideas of things I want to share but mostly I’m happy to share my journey to connect with others. In the Netherlands I still have a lot of contact with expats and other non-Dutch speaking people and I think it would be great if we can inspire and motivate a greater audience. And who knows, maybe it’s one blog post that gives someone enough courage to join some friendly, fit Dutch people at a run or in a fitness class. It’s good to broaden your horizons 🙂
Yeah! We are going global ;-). Thanks so much Renée and welcome to Run-way Girls!