Life Hack: Food & making more time.

This winter life felt like one big ‘ol to do list. No matter what the line items were, even the good things, they felt like moments I had to get through just so I could move on to the next. It sounds so depressing when I say that, but in a way it really was. Week nights felt bogged down and packed full and the weekends were just as bad. The worst part was I didn’t know how to fix it and there wasn’t an end in sight.

Plus, when you add on goals and intentions for the year it became really easy to get overwhelmed. One of the areas that seemed to take up a lot of space was meals – what we were buying, prepping and eating throughout the week. Making sure most of the food that made its way into our mouths was healthy became a huge task and one that just didn’t feel like it could be tamed. I started dreading our weekly trip to the super market on Sundays and knew that my afternoon would be shot trying to get everything ready for the week ahead. This may sound a touch dramatic, but I promise it was how I felt. And, if you could have seen me thawing, washing, chopping, mixing, roasting and organizing I’m pretty sure you would have joined in with your own enthusiastic sigh.

By the start of May, Christian and I had committed to doing the 24 Day Challenge through Advocare (see note below) and the rules of eating got a little stricter than usual around our house, but in some ways it got easier. We had meal shakes every morning and leftovers at lunch. At least breakfast was taken care of, right? This is when I read a tip from Nicole over at a Life Less BS about her formula for healthy eating…

[I know this is a really long-winded way to get to the hack, but I think how we got there is what makes it so great]

Each day you aim to have one smoothie and one salad (the kitchen sink of meals, as she says, because just about anything can go in them). This may sound rudimentary, but just having the decision making taken out of two meals a day gives me an immense sense of relief. SERIOUSLY. I felt so much relief that I implemented it the next week.

But, it gets better. Instead of packing leftovers for lunch, we ate them for dinner either the next night or later in the week. I was now getting 2-3 meals out of each dinner I actually cooked. It was amazing.

Here’s what a typical meal plan looks like at our house right now:

Weekly Meal Plan

On Sundays, I’ll usually grill or roast a bunch of chicken for salads and chop up a couple of cucumbers & peppers to toss in salads as the week goes on. Other than that, there’s not much that goes into it.

So, for us, the hack is this: 

Smoothie for breakfast
+ Salad for lunch
+ Make dinner stretch for 2-3 meals during the week
———————————————————————-
= More hours in your day & a mostly healthy diet

It may not be rocket science, but it makes such a huge difference in how I feel about planning, prepping, making and eating. Give it a whirl, I promise you’ll love it just as much as we do. Unless, you’re one of those people who doesn’t eat leftovers… then, you’re on your own.

 

*Disclaimer: Since I’m all about being 100% real, after falling in love with Advocare’s 24 day challenge (amongst a plethora of other products) we’ve decided to become Advocare distributors. From here on out, links to Advocare will take you directly to our microsite. If you have any questions please feel free to shoot me an email. Thanks! 

Why it’s going to be better than great.

I already told you that I couldn’t be happier to slam the book shut on 2012 and clamber to open the cover on 2013. I just have this overwhelming sense that this year has some great things in store. Looking forward to the months ahead we have the birth of my nephew, a trip to Dallas for Blissdom, a trip the the mountains with my family and so much more.

But, this year is also the year that I’ve set some goals for myself. Not in the resolution sense, but in the here’s how I want to feel this year, here are some things I want to accomplish and here’s the steps that will get me there. Starting off the year this way is a little intimidating because — what if I fail? Not something I look forward to doing publicly… This is where I just have to be kind to myself and accept that things change, paths shift and that sometimes I can’t do it all. So, what exactly am I going to do this year?

1. My health. When Charlie got sick I didn’t know what to do. Handling stressful, traumatic situations isn’t exactly my strong point. So, to fill the void and allow me to spend as much time snuggling my sweet boy as possible, I ate pizza, mac ‘n cheese and other junk to get me through. Then we went on vacation — which was just as fun as it was delicious. Then it was November, and with Thanksgiving (then Christmas) quickly rounding the corner I knew that there was no way I was going to start any sort of health regimen (unless it involved mashed potatoes or whipped cream). Those two months were filled with yum worthy food, but I could tell I was packing on the pounds each and every day. Couple that with some digestive issues I spent most of 2012 trying to figure out and I was a hot mess when New Years rolled around.

I know, deep inside me, that I’m not at a healthy weight, I’m not happy without physical activity and that my stomach issues must come to an end (they are ruling my life). In 2013, I want to lose the weight — not get super model skinny, but happy and comfortable with my body, I want to push myself physically (up my miles, get strong, and make yoga a part of my routine) and I want to figure out — once and for all — what is making me sick. Phew, that is one tall and tough order.

Let's get healthy - and take on the mountain.

2.) Pursue things I love. The past couple years have been whirlwinds of moving, traveling, commuting, marrying etc. and I’ve had to put some of the things I love and things I want to do on the back burner to make room. In 2013, I want to make a commitment to writing/blogging and getting some of those thoughts out of my head and off of lists and actually onto the blog, I want to learn my camera and how to edit the photos I take, I want to give myself the time and space to cook and write recipes. Essentially I want to take just a little time for moi.

There are so many little things to think about, tasks to conquer and daily moments to be present for that I’m only taking on these two major challenges for the first quarter. After a couple months, I’ll re-evaluate to see if I’m ready to take on more or if I’m happy trucking along right where I am.

It’s going to be a good year – what are you conquering these first few months?

Find your bliss.

So, guess what? I’m doing something very exciting this year… very exciting. I’m going to…

Blissdom logo

in Dallas, in March, with Jessica. The night I bought my ticket I had to pinch myself and cross my legs to keep from peeing with excitement. I’ve wanted to go to a blogging conference for years and have just never done it. Well, 2013  is my year and here’s one big burst of joy to start it off right.

I’m already certain that I’ll be torn on what sessions to attend and hope that I don’t miss anything amazing. Next up, booking my flight and trying to contain the jazz hand, booty shakin’, jump around feeling I get each and every time I think about it.

Will you be at Blissdom?

Hello 2013, you look lovely.

It’s 2013. Today. Thank the Lord above. While there were some notable moments in 2012, my overwhelming sentiment is that I’m so very thankful I never have to do that again. Between what seemed to be never-ending, country-wide violence, wading through the sads, and adjusting to a whole new way of life — I am, frankly, ready for a new year.

And, today, that’s what we all get! Hooray, wahoo… [jumps up and down while waving arms wildly through the air].

Part of that whole post on feeling happy has had to do with the hope I have for 2013, the hope for a better, happier, more fulfilling year living my life. The key here is “living my life”. This past year felt more like going through the motions, wading through each day and praying that the next day would be different. Which, is lame and depressing and not how I want to experience all that goes on around me. So, with the dawning of 2013 I am ready to live — deliberately.

I’ve done some work, er, some personal work. That makes me sound even crazier. I don’t know what you call it… but I’ve done some evaluating of 2012 – the things that went well, the things that didn’t. Made some resolutions/goals/intentions/desired feelings of what I want and would like to achieve in 2013. Set up  values, a theme and an action plan to take me through the new year. (All of this thanks to the wonderful Molly Mahar and her Holiday Council over at Stratejoy)

So here’s where it gets good… here’s what 2013 is about for me:

  • Health/Wellness

  • Intention

  • Joy

  • Determination

  • Bravery

And that theme, the guide through this coming year is….

My 2013 Theme: Authentically Inspired.

With each year gone by I’ve never felt the sense of relief or sheer joy for what lay ahead. But, 2013 is different. I’m excited, I’m inspired and I’m ready to do what it takes to make it great. Cheers to a brand spankin’ new year!

I thought I might be crazy.

Let me tell you a little something. Which I feel is a little weird, a lot happy and a whole bunch of other things that just can’t make their way out of my brain and onto this here blog.

When I think about 2012 on the whole — it was kind of blah year. I was feeling really down and foggy for most of it (even this summer, wah!!) and it seemed to just pass me by, hoping each day would go a little faster until the fog passed.

So, here’s the story:

I’m sitting at my desk today and I’m mentally reviewing how different I’ve felt for the past couple weeks. Might I even venture to say that I’ve felt happy? I begin to play, over and over, different moments that were just so shocking to my system that they obviously registered as out of the ordinary…

… we’re having an office meeting, talking about office things, when I look around the room and all I can think about is how happy I am. At the same time I also note that if someone were privy to my thoughts they would think I was high as a kite…

… while staring at my computer screens, my insides get all jittery and I feel this sudden inspiration to write, to plan, to do. But, I’m at work so I stifle the inspiration with a cheery internal high-five that I am actually feeling anything outside of the desire to sleep. Score one for internal joy…

…when I think about 2013 and all the excitement ahead, I just want to shout and yell and grab everyone I know to tell them what am amazing year it’s going to be and that they need to pick themselves up and show a shimmer of the jubilance that I’m experiencing RIGHT THIS MOMENT…

… walking back from the bathroom I have a sudden jolt about all the things I like, but that other’s might find weird and decide it would make for a great blog post. I proceed to mentally pat myself on the back for thinking of all those weird things and for planning a post in advance…

I could go on, but you get the gist (the maybe a little too joyful jist).

This is when it dawns on me, that for the last 11 months I’ve felt nothing but a heaping desire to go home, watch a movie, eat pizza and sleep. I mean, I got excited for things, but they were few and far between. Also there were a lot of tears during those past months. So, what gives. Again, I have another revelation. (Are you jealous of all my revelations because, damn, I would be). But, this revelation is that I might be going crazy. Like loony bin, brain scans, crazy.

So, what do I do? I call my mom. I chose my mom because Christian doesn’t need me to plant any further seeds that he married a lunatic. The conversation goes like this:

Me: I’m a little concerned about how I’ve been feeling lately.

Mom: Well, what’s going on?

Me: So, I’ve been feeling really happy. Like all the sudden (light switched on) and boom I’m happy and the world is great, 2013 is going to be great, my life is great and I just want everyone to be great right along with me. . All of this sounds really super but I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be BI-POLAR. I mean, people don’t go from dull and dreary to spouting sparkles this fast. Right? Am I nuts? I don’t want to be nuts.

Mom: (ever patient sigh) Are you making life changing decisions, huge plans or buying a lot of stuff?

Me: No.

Mom: Then I think you’re fine.

Me: Not crazy?

Mom: No. But if you go on a spending spree let’s re-evaluate.

Me: Ok, thanks for listening.

Mom: I’m going to start charging you for these therapy sessions.

So the sad part is that the fact that I’m happy makes me think there’s some sort of cray-cray disease affecting my brain lobes. But, the happy part is that, well, I’m happy. Seeing sparkles in everything happy, but not so happy that Christian not doing the dishes doesn’t irritate the pants off me. That’s a story for another day. So there you have it.

Want to share in the sparkles of 2013 (because it’s almost here!)? Let’s do it!