Would you rather have wheels for legs or wings for arms?
Would you rather eat really delicious perfect pizza every night for dinner or never, ever get to eat pizza again?
Would you rather be forced to high-five every stranger you talk to or end every phone call with “Ciao, bella!” for the rest of your life?
Would you rather save the polar bears from extinction or win the lottery jackpot (but you would have to tell your grandma that you blew off the polar bears)?
When you’ve got no balance in your life, how do you find your healthy and happy medium without 1) making excuses and 2) making yourself crazy?
Rule #1: Not setting yourself up to fail isn’t about making excuses. When I say, “Don’t set yourself up to fail,” I mean don’t expect too much or too little from yourself. Either way, creating false expectations gets us in trouble. If you decide to go from couch to marathon in two months, you’re probably setting yourself up for burnout. On the other hand, if you don’t demand some sort of discipline from yourself, you’re never going to achieve anything. If you’re working forty hours and don’t have kids, it’s pretty reasonable to expect that you can make it to the gym three days a week. If you suffer from the ‘I Just Can’t Get Motivateds,’ you have to start by demanding a little bit more of yourself. Set the bar a bit higher.
Rule #2: Stop thinking of healthy living as optional. Because we have a choice in the matter, I think we often feel that being healthy is an option. It’s really not an option. It’s kind of like brushing your teeth. Yeah, you could not do it, but your teeth would rot and fall out. Same thing with healthy living. Sure, you could never exercise and eat junk food all the time, but over time, you would probably suffer from a myriad of lifestyle-induce diseases as a result. Look, I’m not going to lie. Creating lifestyle changes is hard, especially at first. Like any change, you have create the routine and habit. So once you have a reasonable expectation of yourself, make yourself stick with the changes for at least six weeks. Tell yourself it’s not optional. Even if you have to choke down those five servings of fruit and veggies. Just do it. I promise it will get easier over time. Eventually, it will become part of your everyday routine that you do because you know it’s good for you – just like brushing your teeth.
Rule #3: it’s okay to make excuses…every now and then. Tough love time: If you find yourself faltering on your new expectations every day (or every other day), it’s not a legit excuse. You’re just bailing. I’m all about moderation (that is healthy, after all!), but I think everyone needs to determine what their own line is. For me, it’s okay to cut myself slack on healthy eating and exercise when: I’m sick/injured, I had a really crappy emotional day, or I’m really tired. Especially in terms of exercise, if it’s going to take away from my energy level instead of adding to it, I skip the workout. It’s also okay to bench myself about once a week because of pure and utter laziness. But before I decide to be lazy, I look forward to the rest of the week, consider that I aim for three workouts a week, and determine if I really want to use my lazy day today. If it’s Wednesday, and I’m tempted to lay on the couch, but I know Thursday and Friday are going to be rammed, I’ll usually work out because I’d rather use my lazy day at the end of the week.
Rule #4: Really recognize how making the healthier (or unhealthier) choice really make you feel. My biggest trouble spot was definitely unhealthy eating, especially stress eating. I could easily put away a whole box of oatmeal cream pies after a bad day at work, yes, the whole box. One day, a friend asked me, “How does it make you feel to stress eat all those cookies?” And I realized… it made me physically (and emotionally) feel like crap. I really began to focus on the physical impact of my healthy and unhealthy choices. When I eat a lot of sugar, I get a freaking headache! It’s not enough that the cookies taste good going down; the consequences are too big. When I feel lazy but I get up and go for a long walk away, I feel awesome, awakened, and happy. I really believe it’s important to simply identify the way choices make you feel (guilt tripping not necessary, just identify the physical and emotional response). Then, when you are tempted to overeat Hershey’s Kisses or whatnot, ask yourself, “Based on my previous experiences, how is this going to make my body feel?” Sometimes it’s worth the sugar headache – but usually, it’s not.
Rule #5: First, tackle something ‘easy’ for you. You probably know your ‘trouble spot.’ If you think, “I hate exercising, and I hate healthy foods,” decide which one you hate the least, and start off by making a small, manageable change. I think the confidence and conviction to change other areas of your life starts by successfully changing just one small thing. Don’t feel like you have to change everything at once. Just do one small thing and stick with it. Build flexibility into your change, but decide your terms, and make yourself stick with it long enough to create that habit.
Rule #6: Don’t get hung up on your old definition of yourself. 2 years ago, I had myself convinced that I was inactive, not athletic, and would never, ever be able to stick to a healthier eating style. I didn’t think I could change because I was the way I was. But no one is stuck! We often tell ourselves stories of how we are or who we can become, but this is certainly not written in stone. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re only a certain kind of person – you can be any type of person you want to be… even a person who sort of likes healthy eating and exercise. I swear!
Don’t worry: you haven’t been missing out on much lately. The extent of my weekend consisted of a 2 hour cleaning process of these puppies….erm, fishies 90 gallon tank.
A trip to a store closing sale that Nate had a heyday at…
And a short trip to Nate’s work so he could wrap up a few things…
Shrimp have been making a staple in many meals lately. No idea why…
This was Shrimp, Broccoli, and Rice. I thought it would be quite boring. But it was actually a-ok!
Angel Hair With Spicy Shrimp
12 ounces angel hair pasta or spaghetti (3/4 of a box)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return pasta to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute (do not let it brown).
3. Add the shrimp, wine, red pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer until the shrimp are opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Toss the pasta with the shrimp mixture.
Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Shake
First of all:
Dear Cottage Cheese, I didn’t know you were epic at making things so delicious. Sincerely, Heidi
This tasted EXACTLY like cheesecake! I was shocked! I used blueberries instead of strawberries. But I’m sure they would both taste great!
1/3 cup strawberry fat free yogurt
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1 heaping scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup milk
add 4-6 ice cubes
Mix all ingredients together in a blender.
There have been specials for Chobani greek yogurt in a lot of stores lately. 5 for $5. When I got to Target to pick some up earlier this week, the only flavor left was Honey. I was a bit skeptical…but it did taste pretty good. I do believe pomegranate still wins the battle though. Breakfasts made easy!
and the unoriginal delicious Panda Puffs. Basically, peanut butter in a bowl. Deliciousness.
I’m off to tackle a run…Have a loverly day!