At the start of this year I decided to simplify my approach to living by making only one goal — to live my best life. The idea was that if I just focus on doing my best and maximizing my experience with everything I do, then all the small stuff will take care of itself.
What I am learning is that some things won’t take care of themselves unless you give them the proper attention. Fitness is a case in point. After my engagement to be married fell apart last summer, I ended up gaining about 20-25 pounds and weighing more than I have ever weighed in my entire life. I actually get out of breath bending over the tie my shoes every morning. I also find myself having difficulty standing up out of a seated position and maintaining my balance for the first few steps of walking after I get up.
Well, enough of that. After all, I used to run 5k races! I need to get back to where I was and go even further into healthy living territory. How can I live my best life if I’m not physically fit and active?
To that end, I’ve started stretching in the morning when I get up. I don’t want to do too much too soon because that just opens the door to injury. It was very obvious the first day how stiff I was, but each day I can feel myself getting more and more loose.
I’ve also started making some changes in my diet to include more protein. A large portion of my weight gain came from poor dietary choices, especially after last summer. When my engagement fell apart, I threw myself into my work as a means of coping with my crisis. It gave me a feeling of accomplishment that I needed at that time.
But I spent so much time working that I didn’t spend enough time taking care of myself. Some advance planning and preparation of meals at home could have helped me avoid some of the extra weight I now carry with me. Instead, I simply grabbed whatever was more convenient, and what was most convenient wasn’t always what was most nutritious.
Now I’ve made out some weekly menus with home-prepared meals that focus on consuming extra protein first, healthy fats second, and carbs mostly from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables last. I’ll let everyone know how well that works for me. But already I feel as though I am on the brink of starting a new direction that will work out well for me. Here’s to better health!
I decided to experiment a bit with some items I had in the kitchen around breakfast time, some of which I needed to use (mostly whole wheat bread, strawberries, and cream cheese). It actually turned out not too bad, so I decided to share it here.
French toast batter is very simple to make — an egg mixed with milk and vanilla. Most recipes also call for sugar to join the mix, but I decided to see if the natural sweetness of the strawberries couldn’t substitute for that. After dipping the bread in the egg-milk mixture, I cooked both sides until done.
The cream cheese topping was made by crushing several washed strawberries with a fork, adding about 2 ounces of plain cream cheese, and then mixing the two together well with an electric mixer. I started out trying to mix them by hand and soon realized I would be there all day before getting the consistency and combination I wanted. This made enough topping for three slices of French toast. I then served with some turkey sausage links for added protein.
The strawberry cream cheese topping made a nice departure from the usual maple syrup I like with my French toast and brought a good flavor to the dish. I do wish that I had added just a bit of sugar to my egg-milk mixture because the dish did seem to be lacking just a small amount of sweetness. Still, it came out great and made a nice, nutritious start to my day.
Yeah, I was totally excited for this day to come. As I mentioned previously, this season I'm sick of winter and ready for spring. So you can imagine my extreme disappointment when Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter. It's not that bad because Phil doesn't have a great track record for correct predictions, although that depends on who you ask. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claims that Phil's prediction record is no better than 21% since 1988.
I desperately wanted an early spring, but just in case I would be daunted I made plans to salvage the day. And it's a good thing I did because that good-for-nothing groundhog didn't follow through on the bribe I sent. Not to worry, because I made the best out of a bad situation by watching Groundhog Day.
Yes, the classic 1993 film with Bill Murray is still a classic. What surprised me were two items: (1) Having not seen it in years, I had forgotten how good this film really is, and (2) I didn't own a copy in my library. How could I not own a copy? Good thing I saw this ahead of time. I ordered it on Amazon for $5 (a real steal for a classic film) and got it here just last night. As soon as I finished with my classes and other work for today, I popped the disc in and enjoyed myself. I had forgotten just how good Bill Murray was in this film. His dry-wit brand of humor was the perfect antidote to a really disappointing day.
I also appreciated the new insights that seeing the film again gave me. What a great metaphor for the lives of so many people! I can remember times when I felt like I was trapped in a never-ending cycle of failure or at best mediocrity and that nothing I could do would break that cycle. The truth is that we usually can do something but don't know what it is. Only by trying different approaches the way the weatherman Phil did in the film are we able to find the way out of that cycle. There's also humor in the film. And that provides another life lesson: Find the humor along the way.
So while I am incredibly disappointed to hear about six more weeks of winter, I am taking it in stride. And who knows? Maybe I'll get lucky and Phil will be wrong!
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