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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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December 6, 2018

Slow Down to Speed Up

This mantra seems counterintuitive, especially since there are only 19 days until Christmas. Yet, it hit me during a recent time of stillness. It also

November 29, 2018

Always Do Something

It’s time to embrace imperfection. Yes, you read that correctly. Today, we are going to consider doing some things imperfectly, rather than not

November 14, 2018

We Fry a Turkey

Yes, you read that correctly. The Slager family fries a turkey (or two) each year to celebrate Thanksgiving. I know. Fried food is not a healthy optio

November 1, 2018

A Fun Day of Celebrations

I find it quite curious that the day after many folks around the world celebrate Halloween, we find ourselves with more than we bargained for on Novem

October 25, 2018

Healthy Diet = Brighter Brain

The age-old question I hear is this, “What is the best diet for me?” Although some people have food sensitivities or allergies, there is a way of

October 18, 2018

Warm Up with a Frittata

It’s that time of year when it actually feels good to turn on the oven. The warmth in the kitchen helps take the bite out of the chilly morning air.

October 18, 2018

Fall Frittata

8 ounces organic uncured turkey bacon, diced (I like Applegate brand)      2 green onions, including much of the green, diced 1 bunch asparagus, ch

October 11, 2018

Embracing the Uncomfortable

Today’s topic hit me like a brick when I was doing just that–embracing the uncomfortable. Why would anyone do such a crazy thing? It hardly ma

October 4, 2018

Farewell, Flag Pants

“You’re getting a little wide in the beam, aren’t you kid?” Those words literally kicked me into the basement of reality and sadness, all

September 27, 2018

Share the Love

Today, give some positive encouragement to another human being. This person may be a workout buddy, neighbor, co-worker, friend, family member, strang

3 Tips for Meal Planning

I would say the Number One challenge when it comes to eating healthy foods is planning. Most people I have interviewed and worked with have a general idea of what they ought to eat. The trick is making it happen!

Today, I am happy to share 3 tips that will help make this magic trick a reality!

Number One: Find a day during the week or weekend when you have a couple hours to look at the week ahead and figure out what you need to do to eat well. Determine:

*When you need a crock pot meal or leftovers, and when you may have 30-45 minutes to prepare a meal
*What you will be making
*What you need from the grocery store
*When you will enjoy your shopping spree –remember, this is supposed to be fun

Number Two: Plan and schedule the times you will be in the kitchen cooking, chopping, prepping, dividing, and whatever you need to do so you remain calm. Things to consider:

*When you make a meal, double it so you have plenty for another meal or lunches. It is just as easy to make two meatloaves as it is one, and you can freeze it.
*Wash and chop produce to last about 3 days (any more than that may get soggy or wilted) so you can grab for snacks, lunches, or stir-fry with chicken or beef. Store in airtight containers and you are good to go.
*If you would like to have a crock pot meal waiting for you one evening, when will you put the ingredients together? Schedule it in your calendar. 
*Think about cooking protein you use often in bulk to freeze. For example, I like to make soups with browned ground beef. Instead of cooking up only one pound for my recipe, I will cook extra and freeze in one-pound packages. By doing this, I am already one step ahead of the game next time. Oh, and one less dirty pot, which is a bonus.

Number Three: Have back up plans for those times when numbers one and two don’t happen. Ideas:

*Keep emergency items in your pantry, fridge and freezer that will feed you in less than 30 minutes. An array of frozen vegetables, canned chicken/tuna, marinara sauce, whole wheat or brown rice pasta (for gluten-free folks), eggs—you get the idea.
*Have a list of 5 go-to meals that are acceptable for your family and are quick. It may not be your ideal healthy meal—so add a salad. Whatever you make will be a better choice than fast food that is fried.
*Take advantage of the many grocery stores that have hot/cold food bars with meals you can take home. Yes, you pay for the convenience, but isn’t peace and calm priceless? Rotisserie chicken is usually very economical and when you add a salad, it’s awesome!
*One of my favorite speedy go-to meals is fresh fish. Sauté or broil just until it flakes apart. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh squeezed lemon– add a vegetable and salad. If you are nervous about what fish to choose and how to prepare it, I have found that the person behind the counter is extremely helpful. 

If these tips are still a bit much for you, then choose ONE idea from them that will simplify your life and help you feel better about your choices. Practice that one thing until you consistently do it well. THEN add another idea into your routine. Rinse and repeat.

Do what works for you and your life. When we do a little bit better on even one thing consistently, we advance on our journey of living well.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” ―Anthony Robbins

Enjoy the Game

Enjoy the Game.

Many people think about health and fitness as drudgery. It’s work, requires discipline, and inflicts a certain amount of pain. We have to stop eating food we REALLY like that brings us immediate gratification and comfort. Then, we have to face the music of what happens later.

I get it. Some days I feel like giving up. Some days when the wind chill is below zero or it is pouring down rain, I don’t want to go to the gym.

Then, there is the food part of the equation. All the workouts in the world will not compensate for a junky diet. What is up with that? Currently, with this extremely cold weather, I want to eat every CARB that isn’t moving—which is all of them. Bread, bagels, cookies, pasta. You get the idea. 

So, what’s a human to do? We would love to be healthy without having to take medication, exercise, and still be able to eat whatever we want.

Enjoy the Game. Have fun trying new things, whether it is new-to-you “healthier” foods, some new fitness program, or finding an accountability buddy to support you. Think of this entire experience as an experiment. Try something and decide if you like the results. If it works, GREAT! If not, try something else.

How can you make healthy FUN? As we move into 2017, my plan is to offer some ways to take the drudgery out of health and fitness. Hint: it’s all about our attitude.

When we enjoy the game, we stay in the game. Why do I STILL go to the gym when it’s freezing or I’m tired? When I go, I am surrounded by FUN friends who may not want to be there either. We purposely tell one another, “See you tomorrow,” and we like to stay honest. We keep each other on track. I NEED them!

About those carbs? Well, I ate macaroni and cheese yesterday (and didn’t do so well with my vegetables). I REALLY enjoyed it and today I am just fine. The key here is that I sometimes consciously cave a little, so I don’t go crazy one day and EAT EVERYTHING. Every so often, I do eat everything anyway, and then I move on. Balance, balance, balance.

And on that note, enjoy the holidays in a way that is special for you. I am excited to spend Christmas with my family and eat our traditional foods that my Grandma Mary used to make. Today I made nutrolls that are AMAZING! We eat them on Christmas morning. Enjoy the Game! 

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!”Benjamin Franklin

November’s Healthy Lifestyle Habit

RELAX!

This time of year, people tend to be wound pretty tight. The intensity gains momentum as we move into December, in preparation for the holidays. This month, stockings-1816094_640make it a habit to relax.

You may think this relaxing idea sounds crazy, so let’s analyze the facts:

  • Stress causes LOTS of health problems and can sometimes make us cranky
  • When we feel rushed, we tend to make mistakes, forget important details and even get hurt
  • Burning the candle at both ends may contribute to us being less productive in the long run
  • We make poor food choices when we don’t take some time to plan ahead, which leads to unnecessary remorse
  • Our exercise routine is likely to get pushed aside because we think we are much too busy for self-care, when the exercise will help us feel better
  • Working, shopping, decorating, entertaining are all more enjoyable when you are able to go through the process in a calm, relaxed manner

Have I sold you on this idea yet? Keep in mind that whether you choose to be uptight or relaxed, time will pass you by just the same. YOU decide how you want to live your life, one day at a time. Thanksgiving dinner will come and go whether you are a frazzled mess or lighthearted and calm. Everything works out fine in the end, even if it isn’t perfect!

Okay, so this all sounds like a fairytale, right? Doesn’t have to be. Here are some ideas to help you RELAX your way into 2017:

  • When you feel anxious, focus on your breathing. Take some slow, deep, breaths by breathing in for a count of four, holding for four, and exhaling for eight. Try to breaths that go into your belly. Doing this little exercise for even a minute or two will allow you to relax into the present moment.
  • Allow more time than you think you need for your tasks. By doing this, you won’t be as apt to rush. For example: shopping at the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving is going to take more time than if you do it the Monday before the holiday. Expect it to take time and if that is the only day you are able to shop, mentally prepare for this and enjoy the process. Odds are good you will run into your neighbors and friends during the outing, so enjoy it!
  • Plan a few minutes at the end of the day for quiet time. You may choose to read something light, listen to your favorite music, or sit in silence and pet your dog. girl-1561943_640(My Sophie likes that last idea best!)
  • When you have lots to accomplish and feel stressed, ASK for help. Are there other members of your family who can run and pick up the item you forgot at the store, or wrap the last-minute gift? This small favor may give you a chance to sit for 5 minutes and breathe.
  • Go ahead and exercise when you think you don’t have time. You DO have time and you will feel much more relaxed because you did!
  • What is it that you love to do? Whatever it is, do it, even if it is only for half an hour or so.

I have a client that recently went on an overnight retreat. She unexpectedly had extra time the day she was preparing to leave and spent oodles of time packing. It was very relaxing and peaceful, and it set her up to enjoy her experience of the retreat even more fully.board-393835_640

So, what will I do differently? I am having guests for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I have already begun the process of cleaning the house, so I am not running around like a turkey with my head cut off on Wednesday. I am looking at the week ahead and deciding when I will do the shopping, make the pies, set the table, etc. Simply reviewing the list of what needs to happen and PLANNING makes me feel more relaxed.

Thank you for reading my thoughts. I wish you and your family a most blessed Thanksgiving!

October’s Healthy Lifestyle Habit

Need Sleep?

Questions: Do you get enough sleep? How much is enough? Does it really matter over the long haul?

Answers: Probably not. Seven to eight hours seems to be ideal. Sleep is just as newborn-216723_640important as diet and exercise, as it pertains to good health.

This is one of those habits that tends to get overlooked; yet it has a HUGE impact on our health. Studies show that a lack of sleep may contribute to weight gain and obesity. When we don’t get our required amount of sleep, hormones that affect appetite and other important functions may get out of whack. Another big (and perhaps the most obvious) reason that non-sleepers gain weight is simple: they are awake more hours and can do more eating.

Folks who get less than 7.5 hours of sleep each night are at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and sudden cardiac arrest, than those who get more zzzz’s. Along with the weight gain that may be attributed to sleep deficiency, there is also the increased likelihood of insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.

Wow. Feeling like you should go take a nap?

I think some people think it is heroic to get less sleep; like it is a badge of honor because they are getting more done. Or, perhaps they just like to stay up and watch movies or late night TV to relax. Then, there’s the college-age crowd that studies until some crazy hour, or decides to meet up with friends starting at 11pm. Oh, youth!

Some do not get proper rest because of untreated sleep apnea. If you think your loved one stops breathing during the night, snores loud enough to wake the neighbors, or falls asleep anytime they sit still during the day, consider a sleep apnea test. It could add years to their life, not to mention, life to their years. I know many people who are much happier and healthier because they now have their CPAP machines at night. Their spouses are happier too!                                                                                                            morning-1092771_640What can you do to encourage better sleep habits?
*Maintain consistent bedtimes and wake times, even on weekends
*Keep the room dark and quiet
*Try some form of relaxation and self-care before bedtime, which excludes TV, movies, computers, and stressful discussions
*Keep the temperature of the room between 66 and 72 degrees F
*Avoid any stimulants like caffeine and nicotine later in the day
*Regular exercise improves sleep, although some do not do well exercising in the evening
*Avoid going to bed with a full stomach
*Get help for sleep apneaice-cream-967094_640

So, based on these suggestions for restful sleep, I guess eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream while watching The Walking Dead could explain why I don’t sleep well some nights.

There is always room for improvement…. Sweet dreams!

Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds. ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002

(Reference: Precision Nutrition Blog: All About Sleep by Ryan Andrews)