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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Schererville, IN

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September 24, 2020

Pumpkins, Apples, and Pears, Oh My

Welcome to fall and an abundance of pumpkins, apples, and pears. These are just a few favorites that enjoy a big debut this time of year. The Great Pu

September 17, 2020

Creating Space…in Your Refrigerator, Freezer, Life

Lately I’ve noticed that I have the need for more space—physically, mentally, digitally, and when it comes to my schedule. And no, I do not want a

September 10, 2020

Standing in the Doorway of September

We’re standing in the doorway of September. Summer days still linger, yet autumn is inching its way into our lives—and wardrobes. It’s one more

September 3, 2020

Sometimes I Eat My Feelings

Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes I eat my feelings. How about you? We feel sad, so we eat food that soothes us. We feel like celebrating, so we

September 2, 2020

Carob Brownies

(This recipe first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Ingredients:  1/2 cup all-purpos

September 1, 2020

High-fiber, low-fat legume adds the flavor without the drawbacks of chocolate

(The following article first appeared in the August 2020 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.) Online version Most pe

August 27, 2020

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready? Or are you waiting for the perfect time to…                             …learn a new skill? …write the book? …ea

August 25, 2020

Gluten Free Pie Crust

This recipe yields two 9-inch pie crusts. 2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend (Namaste and King Arthur are brands I’ve used)  1/2 teaspo

August 20, 2020

It’s Tomato Time

As I was caring for my tomato plants, I had the memory of my father teaching me about cutting off the suckers–those shoots that show up between

August 13, 2020

Enjoy a Bit of Sabbath Today

Today, take some time to lighten things up a bit and do something you really enjoy—for about an hour. Warning: this may take some discipline. Monks

Choosing Wisely

Sometimes we attend luncheons or dinners, and the fare offered is rather limited. Perhaps, as I wrote in my blog last week, we feel like we are using up our 20% of the 80/20 rule. But maybe, just maybe, we can get by unscathed. Here are my tips on how to make choices that are just a little bit healthier, so you can save your 20% for another meal! (Friday night pizza?)

I’ll give you a couple of scenarios so you get the general idea. Let’s say you are at a business luncheon with buffet options:

  • Tossed green salad with several dressings
  • Rolls for sandwich making or as a side
  • Thinly sliced roast beef with au jus
  • Italian sausage
  • Hamburgers
  • Sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, onions, etc. to dress up a sandwich
  • Assorted drinks: water, diet soda, regular soda, unsweetened ice tea, coffee
  • Assorted fresh fruits
  • Brownies (you can tell by looking that they are NOT AMAZING)

For this blog’s sake, pretend summer is just around the corner and you may need to put on shorts or a swimsuit. You are committed to cutting back on breads, sugars, and want to eat more vegetables. Here’s how you make this lunch part of your 80% instead of 20%.

Begin with a GENEROUS helping of salad. Choose the least amount of dressing you need to add flavor without distracting from the taste of the greens and other salad components. An oil and vinegar based option is typically a better choice than thick and creamy, since you need more of the creamy types to go around.

Next, if you make a sandwich, add more vegetables to it. Maybe you could even make an open-faced sandwich and use a big piece of lettuce as a topper, instead of eating the entire roll. Or, skip the roll totally and you have the meal concept: main dish with side salad. The best drink option is water, then the tea or coffee. If you select soda, you will get more than your day’s maximum of sugar, and the chemicals in diet soda are not good. Enjoy your natural sugar from the fresh fruit.

If you typically bypass the salad, eat the sandwich and drink a soda, practice switching just one of those options. Slow and steady…

The brownie…it’s not amazing, so skip it. Save up for a treat you will REALLY enjoy later.

When you attend a sit-down dinner and the food is plated for you, you get what you get. However, these are usually pretty standard: salad, soup, protein (beef, chicken, fish), vegetable (green beans, broccoli, or cauliflower) and starch (baked potato or pasta). Can you tell I’ve been to lots of these? If the chicken is fried, removing the skin is a good move. Avoiding fried foods as much as possible is preferable. Rolls are almost always present and may certainly be skipped in case the dessert IS AMAZING! (I have been known to eat the bread when the main course is not the best or if it is rather skimpy. There are times…)

This is simply a matter of making choices that are a little better than you may have made a year ago, or six months ago. It depends on your personal health and fitness goals and what works for you. Bon Appetit!

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” ― Thomas Edison

Why 80% is an “A” on my Scale

When I was in school, an “A” was earned with a score of 90% to 100%. There wasn’t much room for error. When I practiced pharmacy, the range of error was even less, as you can imagine.

When it comes to eating in a way that serves you nutritionally, I like the 80% rule. It works like this: eat nutritionally sound foods at least 80% of the time. The other 20% is “room for error” or “cheat meals” or whatever term suits you. 

Reality check: life does not always allow us to carry out our perfect plan for fitness, food, and the way we think things ought to go. We have very little control. However, we can usually control our food choices and how much we move.

80% is realistic. The 80/20 rule allows for those special times with friends, holidays, birthdays and “because I had a tough day” days. 80% gets us past the ALL or NONE way of thinking, which only sets us up to fail miserably.

Here’s how it works: 80% of the time make sure you eat the proper amount of lean protein, vegetables, carbohydrates and good fats.

An easy way to know how much you need:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your veggie portions.                            
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

The recommendation is that women have one of each of those with most meals. For men, the recommendation is two of each with most meals. This guideline assumes you eat 4 times a day. Easy.

Let’s do the math. Eating 4 meals a day means 28 meals a week. So, following the 80/20 rule, if 22 or 23 of those meals are on target, you’ll most likely stay on track.

This takes into account Sunday brunch, the birthday celebration at work on Tuesday, “because it rained” on Wednesday (this person doesn’t live in Northwest Indiana where it has rained everyday for at least a week—that person blew it BIG time), pizza sounded really good on Friday night, and the hot dog at Home Depot called to you on Saturday.

I’ve had days when I never saw a vegetable and the carbohydrates ruled the plate. It happens. Life happens. Eat well most of the time and you’ll probably reach most of your health and fitness goals.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” –Charles M. Schulz

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