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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

August 15, 2019

The All or None Syndrome

Ever experience Pause Button Mentality? Perhaps during the holidays, your birthday, after vacation, when work gets crazy, or kids go back to school? H

August 8, 2019

Lessons from Nature, and Grounding

We must be moving into fall, as school supplies are in the sale ads. Didn’t summer vacation just get rolling? As I look around, I see many of my lil

August 1, 2019

Creative, Easy, Grilling Ideas

Summer is for taking it easy, and that includes mealtime. Lately, Mr. Non-Compliant and I have been playing with food. Our latest game: How much can w

July 18, 2019

Happy National Ice Cream Month

The year was 1984. President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. This ye

July 11, 2019

How to Bok Choy

Summer is adventure time. With the abundance of various fruits and vegetables available at grocery stores and farmers markets, there is no reason to b

July 4, 2019

Relax and Enjoy

Welcome to the dog days of summer and simple eating. Unlike winter, when those crock pot soups and stews hit the spot, we are now in the season of lig

June 27, 2019

Atomic Habits

My current summer (now that it’s official!) read is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I’m working on improving a few of mine—slowly—one at a

June 13, 2019

Ten of My Best Tips

Q. What to blog about when I have too many ideas flying around my brain and I simply am not able to choose? A. Tips that cover a variety of topics, wi

June 6, 2019

The Joys of June…and Strawberries

Along with June come some fun celebrations. Besides the new season of life celebrated by many graduates (and parents, now free of tuition payments), a

The “Fit Person” Ideal

So many times we have very lofty ideas about how certain people live their lives. We are on the outside looking in, and we usually make their story much better than it truly is. The fitness picture of those we admire, is no exception. 

When I think about a “fit person” and the habits that he/she practices, it looks something like this:

  • Regular gym time that is solid no matter what life is throwing their way
  • No cravings for ice cream, chocolate, or warm crusty bread accompanied with whipped butter
  • Typical restaurant fare is grilled fish with at least two vegetables, salad and not even a peek at the dessert menu
  • Breakfast probably doesn’t include brioche with a ribbon of chocolate, slathered with butter
  • Eating a huge bowl of rigatoni Bolognese doesn’t even sound appealing

Here is what I have learned: Even the folks I consider to be the most fit, do not follow those guidelines perfectly. We all have our secrets. Today, it’s time to name them and acknowledge their existence. I’ll even share mine, to make it easy for you to come clean.

Here goes:

  • I recently experienced a crazy day and my “reward” for surviving it was a bowl of ice cream. (Proud to say it was only ONE bowl.)
  • The warm crusty bread that appeared on the table at lunch today was accompanied by an herb butter spread—yes, it was AMAZING and I experienced great delight in every bite.
  • My dinner a couple weeks ago was a bowl of popcorn—not a speck of protein. Redeeming factor: I did pop it in coconut oil so I got some good fat.
  • The brioche with a ribbon of chocolate…a component of my Easter breakfast with the remainder eaten on Monday so it wouldn’t go bad
  • Every so often I go to H Dog with my husband, Mr. Non-Compliant, and eat a Chicago style hot dog instead of a salad.

Other “fit” people I know have a passion for donuts, red wine, Oreos and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Oh, and every once in a while, they are not in the mood to push the envelope during their workout. It happens. None of us are perfect.

It’s okay. We are in this game together, folks. This is a way of life that we practice and improve upon a little at a time. It is sustainable because we have real moments when we indulge in something that is “secret.” This is normal and in my opinion, it is occasionally necessary so we don’t go off the deep end one day and swear off every vegetable for the next decade.

So, the next time you feel like you blew your workout or went overboard with the chocolate cake, let it go. Acknowledge your “secret” and wipe the slate clean. You’re in good company.

“Fit is not a destination. It is a way of life. Because the journey IS the destination.”—Author unknown

Cupboard Clearing Confessions

Try saying that three times, really really fast. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

This week I have been clearing my cupboards. Funny, I didn’t think I had that much clearing to do. Then, it happened…I got into the Jell-O stash.

I have not purchased a box of Jell-O in years. In fact, I can’t even begin to guess how many years it’s been. Lots of them. So, imagine my surprise when I was clearing, and discovered eight boxes or so of the colored gelatin. There must have been a REAL deal on it at the time, since I stocked up. That was obviously before my conversion to healthier eating. I can only figure that’s the case because here is what else I uncovered in my food finds (please don’t judge):

  • Liquid food coloring
  • Edible silver glitter for decorating cupcakes
  • Dried pizza seasoning that didn’t smell like anything anymore
  • Very old peanut M&M’s (how did those ever get by me?)
  • Instant coffee–about 2 tablespoons left in a big clump
  • Red bean penne pasta (not that old but NO WAY is anyone in my home eating it—not even me!)
  • Pickled artichoke hearts that were “Best if Used By June 2008”
  • Powdered meringue (I couldn’t even begin to know why….)
  • Never opened cinnamon candy flavoring, to make those Cinnabon clones that never happened (probably saving me from a life of high cholesterol)
  • Lots of salt packets with BIG salt to sprinkle on those frozen pretzels you bake at home
  • A packet of dairy free pudding mix, most likely older than those artichokes

You get the idea. It has been entertaining, to say the least. As I wheeled my garbage bin to the curb, it was pretty heavy, so I guess I’m on the right track. What’s interesting is that I actually cleaned the cupboards out in the past couple years. Maybe I wasn’t paying close attention, or I really thought I needed eight boxes of Jell-O. Whatever the reason, I share this with you in case you need to do this little task and are afraid of what you might find. You might get a good chuckle from the experience. I’d love to hear what you unearth during your cupboard dig.

And, because many of us are preparing to celebrate Easter, family, spring, and life, here is my tip for the day: Enjoy every food you choose to eat slowly, and stop at 80% full—in other words, before you feel like you are going to explode. The eggs, ham, tenderloin and whatever else, tend to suddenly expand in your stomach to the point of sending you to the nearest couch for the afternoon. I know this from personal experience. Be extremely wise and save more for leftovers. You’ll thank me next week, when you have a few meals waiting for you.

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” – Julia Child

Banana Oat Muffins (Gluten and Sugar Free)

Banana Oat Muffins (Gluten and sugar free)

  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • 2 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil (or butter)
  • 2 ripe, medium-size bananas, broken into pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, if you are making without gluten)
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the dates in a small bowl and pour ½ cup boiling water on them. Let dates soak for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.

While the dates are soaking, prepare the dry ingredients. Place the oats in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a coarse powder. Pour into a bowl and add the almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

Once the dates are soft, drain the water, and leave them very wet. You need to smash them, and the easiest way I found is to put them in your blender or food processor with the 2 eggs and pulse until you no longer have large date pieces. Pour this mixture into a bowl and add the coconut oil, bananas and vanilla. Mix on medium high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, a little at a time, mixing after each addition.

Drop by tablespoonful or small scoop into muffin tins lined with baking cups. Bake until a toothpick or tester comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.

*Variations: Add ½-1 teaspoon cinnamon, and/or some chopped nuts. I may even add chocolate chips at some point. I’m sure those would be tasty, although then you would have “added sugar” and they are not as healthy.

New Beginnings

Spring. It may not feel like spring today, depending on where you live. In fact, there’s a chance I could wake up to snow. Yet, somehow, my crocuses and daffodils seem to know when it’s safe to show up. They’re okay. It’s their time for a new beginning.

And, depending on how life has happened, it may be a good time for you to enjoy a new beginning as well.

Many times we get stuck and take pause. We think about making better choices with food, getting more exercise, practicing more awareness, and then…we pause. Life takes over and we get lost in the shuffle of work, family, illness, meetings, and more. “I’ll start my new fitness routine on Monday”…or “I’ll eat better next week”…or “My diet starts after the big birthday celebration.” It never seems to end. It is one vicious cycle of bumps in the road of life. Pause.

We had every good intention back in January. And now, welcome to April and your new beginning!

Here’s a great way to get started, if you need some help. Think about what being fit means to you. What does a fit person choose to do? Spend a few minutes today and make a list of about five things you think a fit person does.

If I were making a list, one thing I think about is starting the day with a breakfast that includes protein. Another would be to have regular times scheduled during the week to get some exercise. Okay, now you’re on your own.

It’s tough to take the journey to your best healthy and fit life, if you don’t know where you’re going. It’s like taking a vacation and not really knowing where you’d like to be for a week. (Right about now, I would really love a beach, the ocean, and some sunshine!)

So, if you are on track with your plan for 2017, I applaud you! Stay the course. If you had a bumpy first quarter, cheers to new beginnings. Make your list of five, then pick ONE of them to work on. Step into the role of “fit person” today. This is a mind game and you will believe whatever you tell yourself.

I’m here if you need help sorting it all out. Sometimes the game is tough to get through alone. It’s the reason I tell my friends at the gym, “See you tomorrow.” We count on each other to show. It’s what a fit person does.

See you around, Fit Person!

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” -Alan Cohen