I’ve been feeling more than a little overwhelmed. So today I applied Linda’s strategy of breaking things down into manageable pieces to finally check things off my to-do list. (I have a separate to-do list for work, but let’s not even go there.)
Here’s my list. It’s actually the second version. I already broke “clean house” down into laundry, bathrooms, sweep & vacuum, and dishes before I started accomplishing anything. I was too overwhelmed by thinking about cleaning the whole dirty house. I don’t have time for that!
I broke it down, but I still felt too overwhelmed. All that laundry? ACK, that would take all day. Instead, I gave myself an out. Something’s better than nothing, so I modified my goal– towels. And while I was at it, some underwear and socks filled out the load. Bam! One thing done.
Then bathrooms. If I had to clean both bathrooms completely, it would take at least an hour. So I told myself if we just have clean sinks and counters today, I can do the tub and the toilets later in the week.
Sweeping but not vacuuming seemed like a reasonable compromise because it only meant one set of cleaning equipment (broom and dustpan) and one round through the house. I included the bathroom floors on this and felt like a champ because now the bathrooms really are clean enough to go a few more days.
I had too many dishes to fit in the dishwasher, so I didn’t even want to start. I told myself I just had to get one load in the dishwasher and rinse everything that wouldn’t fit. Once I lowered the bar, I just did it.
Finally, the workout. I’ve been feeling guilty for not getting my usual 45 minutes to an hour in regularly. Since something is better than nothing, I did 15 minutes of cardio and told myself I’d do more later if I had the time. (Surely that scurrying around with the broom and dustpan had to help my health a little, right?)
Now I’m on to the blog post, and I’m almost done with the list. Sure, my post isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Say it with me: “Something’s better than nothing!”
Have you felt paralyzed by perfection? What pass will you give yourself to enjoy the truth of today’s mantra?
When Linda told me the story of her first triathlon, she perfectly articulated the importance of reconnecting with happy memories through swimming. If you can tap into past joy, you’ll look forward to your workouts.
My happy exercise secret is Richard Simmons.
During much of my childhood, my mom worked hard to manage her weight. She dieted, she went to a jazzercise class, and she did home workouts along with TV shows and exercise videos. Her prepackaged low-cal meals gave me a lifelong fear of quick-fix diets, but her “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” video tape made me fall in love with Richard Simmons.
Together, when I was preteen, she and I made a pilgrimage to a local mall to see Richard Simmons live on stage. Then, in college, I sweet-talked a friend into driving me to another mall so I could stand in line to get Richard Simmons to autograph his new cookbook for me. I also got my roommates hooked on “Disco Sweat” and other Richard Simmons video workouts. When stress and inactivity got us down, we pumped ourselves up by doing disco hair moves and shaking our booties.
In the technological transition from VCR to DVD player, somehow my Richard Simmons habit got lost; it had been years since I did the rhumba with Richard. But now that I bought myself DVDs, I can’t stop sweatin’! There’s something so uplifting about Richard’s sunny attitude, the wacky dance moves, the happy people of all shapes and sizes, and the great music. I had forgotten how good it makes me feel to hear Richard Simmons say, “I’m so proud of you!” and “Give yourself a hug every day; you deserve it!” The workouts are full of sass, silliness, and compassion so they lift my mood as well as my heart rate. I’m sure exercise endorphins have something to do with it, but I think it’s also just the knowledge that someone as unique, loving, and energetic as Richard Simmons is out there, still working hard every day to get people healthy.
Richard's autograph image courtesy of sleepeatgymrepeat.com
What puts a smile on your face when you exercise?
Today’s lunch is good for the body and good for the budget: a simple, hearty black bean burrito. It’s actually full of leftovers from last night, but it’s so yummy and satisfying on a dreary Seattle day, that I thought I’d share the recipe. (Apologies for my food photography; it looks much better in person.)
Black Bean Burritos
- 1 can of black beans, well-rinsed (or 1 cup of dried beans soaked overnight, then boiled until soft)
- dash of cumin, chile powder, and black pepper
- 4 Tbsp pico de gallo (or your favorite salsa)
- whole grain tortillas
Stir the beans, spices, and pico de gallo together. (You could also add salt and/or corn at this point.) Heat the mixture up on the stove, in the microwave, or spoon it right into the tortillas with a handful of spinach and heat the whole shebang in the microwave.
I usually put a handful or two of spinach on my burrito, and if I’m feeling very fancy, I add a slice or two of avocado after I’ve heated it.
What’s your favorite healthy, easy lunch?
Posted by Tegan on Mar 8, 2012 in healthy tips & tweaks
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I cannot resist Girl Scout Cookies. I cannot resist the Girl Scouts selling the cookies. Such a good cause! Such good cookies!
So my healthy tip: only buy Girl Scout Cookies for Operation Cookie Drop. Every table of Girl Scouts I’ve seen offers Operation Cookie Drop, and the Girl Scouts are so kind as to never even let the box of cookies touch my hand… I tell them what flavors I want to send to the troops, they tell me how much, then they put the boxes in their donation box to pack up (with cards and other treats) to send to active duty troops.
Not ever touching the box is the only way I can resist eating a whole stack of Thin Mints.
Please note: The box pictured was purchased in a moment of weakness, abetted by my cookie-hungry husband. Because he bought them and opened them, he saved me from eating the whole stack at once by eating half himself. I didn’t think “make your husband eat them” was healthy enough advice…
Do you have a strategy for keeping trigger foods out of your hands (and mouth)?
Posted by Tegan on Feb 16, 2012 in healthy tips & tweaks
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I have a new web addiction: Adam Forgie and Jeanne Harr, his 90 year old Grandma.
Jeanne’s sense of rhythm and sense of humor are inspiring! Also admirable: grandson Adam’s clear love for his Grandma. You can see how they both light up when he joins her to dance to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”
What’s one song that always gets you moving?
Posted by Tegan on Feb 9, 2012 in healthy tips & tweaks
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Here’s my healthy tip for the week:
Don’t wear uncomfortable shoes.
If I wear shoes that aren’t good for walking, I don’t walk. That means I’m more likely to take the bus or take a cab rather than walk to wherever I’m going. If I ride instead of walking, I miss out on all the benefits of incorporating healthy activity into everyday life.
See how happy I am? That’s because these boots are so comfortable, I wear them almost every day. I’ve worn them on the streets of London, in clubs in New York, on the beach in Massachusetts (pictured above), and in every neighborhood of Seattle through rain and shine. They make me feel ready for any kind of adventure; walking in them feels great.
When you wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be more willing to get up and move today, and with no blisters, you’ll still be up for more tomorrow!
Do you have an everyday pair of shoes that inspires you to move?
Let’s talk about salad dressings. Specifically Ranch Dressing, which the average American eats a lot of, I hear tell. An acquaintance of mine took the Ranch Dressing dilemma to heart and went looking for the healthiest choice out there, and this is what he came up with.
Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch. He wanted low fat and low everything else (except flavor)–usually low fat comes with higher sugars, but this doesn’t. It is a yogurt based dressing so it tastes fresher. There are no preservatives or MSG; no trans fats; no artificial colors, flavors or added sugars; and it’s gluten free. 45 calories per serving and in the Weight Watchers world of Pointsplus it is just 1 per serving (which is lower by 75% than other Ranch dressings).
You can find it a Central Market. Bolthouse website has a store locator: tell them where you live and they will show you the nearest store that sells their products. Also on the website you can request coupons and they will send them to you.
This is a tremendous guilt-free option in the Ranch Dressing area of life. I can’t wait to try it on a few people in a blind taste test to see if they can tell a difference. Or if, like me, they think that it just tastes fresher.
That’s our Thursday tip.
Pasta! We love Pasta! And we learned a very helpful trick for this favorite food several years ago.
We measure out exactly what we need dry by weighing it. Then it slides into the water and cooks up. We serve ourselves the portion. At first the portions seemed small, desperately small. The deal was if we were still hungry we could cook more, but we just wanted to see if one portion would do it. We were surprised that if there aren’t seconds to have, then…we really don’t want them badly enough to start over by boiling the water and getting out the pasta and getting the scale out (you get the idea). Now we really are satisfied with just one small portion–who knew?
Cooking just enough is the tip of this Thursday.
Eighteen minutes are all I need and we are set for breakfast for the week. I cook a vat of steel-cut oatmeal once a week, put it in the fridge, and once a day Colin and I scoop out our portions, microwave for about 1 minute, and add what each of us likes to the morning breakfast meal, usually some protein and fruit. He likes milk, I do not.
Vat of Steel-Cut Oatmeal (I'll admit I need better lighting for these photo's)
We found that steel-cut oats lasts longer in our bodies than rolled oats. They give us about an extra 1.5 – 2 hours before getting hungry again. I feel like such a farmer, tanking up for the day. In the Weight Watchers world of Pointsplus, I spend a good chunk on breakfast.
Oatmeal, mixed nuts, and crasins (10pp)
We buy our oats in bulk at about $.99 a pound. People have asked, “Don’t they get slimy sitting in the fridge all week?” Nope, I just put a little water in and microwave for a minute and we are good to go. Then I get to add toppings. Yum.
This is one of our staples in weight management-ville, and our tip for this Thursday.
Posted by Tegan on Jan 12, 2012 in healthy tips & tweaks
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Brrr, it finally felt like winter while I waited for the bus last night. The temps dropped down to freezing here in Seattle, and according to the Universal Rules of Life, because it was cold enough to be uncomfortable standing at the bus stop, the bus was late.
If you were out and about in Seattle last night and saw a crazy lady pacing up and down the block waiting for the 13 bus, then you noticed that she started skipping, then doing what may have looked like soccer running drills, don’t worry– that was just ME, staying warm. And burning some bonus calories pre-dinner to boot!
So if you forget your long johns or don’t have a warm enough coat, don’t just stand at the bus stop and curse the elements: Keep moving. Your whole body will be glad you did.
Stay warm and healthy!