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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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October 17, 2019

A Story with Heart

When considering our health, so many times we think about starting better habits on Monday, or after a big celebration, or at the beginning of a new y

October 10, 2019

Ever Get Mad at…You?

I recently saw a post from a wonderful lady we’ll call Ann. (This is not her real name, so you can insert any name you prefer to use here. Maybe you

October 2, 2019

Managing Inherited Behaviors

Ice cream is still my favorite food. It has been my favorite food my entire life, as far back as I can recall. I firmly believe that my fondness for i

September 29, 2019

Fresh fruits and veggies, fish, good fats make healthy eating delicious

(The following article first appeared in the February 14, 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. Online version) T

September 26, 2019

Applause for Your Consistency

Today, I acknowledge and applaud you for your commitment to consistency. Whether you consistently make a conscious effort to consume more vegetables f

September 19, 2019

No Time? Quick Meal Ideas

No time. Can you relate? I’ve been feeling the crunch of more scheduled evening events—and I no longer have kids going back to school! As I sat lo

September 12, 2019

The Biggest Nutritional Challenge

When it comes to losing weight and improving nutrition, what is the #1 challenge? Go ahead, take a guess. If your answer is, “I don’t know what I

September 5, 2019

Mr. Non-Compliant Ate Gross Greens

Miracles do happen and life is full of surprises. If your loved one is not keen on eating as healthy as you’d like, keep the faith. I offer you a st

August 28, 2019

The Other 84% of Health

In last week’s blog, I mentioned water intake, slower eating, and increased movement. Did you pick up on the fact that I never suggested WHAT to eat

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

What’s Your Elephant?

I recently came across a movie starring Bill Murray (odds are good it’s a comedy—it was) and an elephant by the name of Vera. In a nutshell, it’s about a motivational speaker (Bill) who learns his circus clown father died and left him Vera. Since elephants aren’t like dogs when it comes to traveling, eating, sleeping, etc., Bill found himself in quite a quandary. The movie tells the story of how he and Vera managed their new partnership as they traveled across the country. 

Although I’ve never seen an elephant up-close and personal, I’ve seen some fascinating documentaries and think they have many traits similar to us. They’re pretty interesting looking, not to mention HUGE.

So, what is the elephant you’re facing today? What is the problem in the middle of the room that feels as big as Vera? Need some clues? It could be the one thing that is keeping you stuck and out of alignment with your health and fitness plan.

Maybe your elephant is:

  • Too many snacks in the house because your family “needs” them. 
  • Eating late at night.
  • Taking care of everyone else and not taking care of you.
  • Working too many hours.
  • Difficulty in planning meals.

Here’s the thing Bill discovered in the movie: the more he wanted to avoid Vera, the bigger she got. He couldn’t make her go away by eating, drinking, sleeping or running. He finally had to face the fact that he had an elephant and he had to deal with her.

Today, what if you could just whittle away a piece of your elephant? Is there one small thing you can do to make your Vera a bit less daunting?

Like:

  • Exchange one of those snacks in the house for something a bit healthier.
  • Figure out if your truly hungry, or simply bored, then make an adjustment.
  • Ask for help with one thing that you really don’t need to do.
  • Shave an hour off of one workday.
  • Plan one or two meals ahead of time for your busy week.

Don’t worry about the WHOLE elephant today, simply a piece of it. Face your Vera, make a plan, and take one small action!

“The very things that hold you down are going to life you up.”—Timothy Mouse from Dumbo

The movie: Larger Than Life

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.