5 Things // My Healthy Tricks

Let's be clear that I am in no way the healthiest person I know (more miles = more beer) but there are some easy ways that I try to maintain some balance, which I thought I would share in case it sparks anything helpful in someone else.

Meal Planning
I am not talking about pretty bento boxes of veggies, perfectly weighed out to by macros and ketos and whatever else the popular bloggers are doing. I just mean I sit down (with Matt) every Friday night and look at our calendars, decide what we will have for dinners, and make a grocery list. We have a weekly cash budget to stick to (more on that in another post) so we check the circular for anything on sale that we can take advantage of, such as chicken breasts and produce, since those are staples. I also like to make things that we can generate leftovers for our weekday lunches, such as chicken to throw in rice bowls or Thug Kitchen's delicious roasted beet and quinoa salad that is amazing over a handful of spinach.

A few months ago we made a weekly menu that we try to stick to, both for simplicity and to try and get our kids to eat more than just pasta every night. Whenever I have an hour or two at home on the weekend I try to prep as much as possible - tofu fried up for sofritas tacos or avocado and rice bowls, marinara sauce for pasta and bananas into the freezer for morning smoothies. It is such a small amount of time on the weekend but makes our weeknight hustle so much less chaotic.

At least one or two nights a week one of us is not home for dinner, so that is the night we have breakfast for dinner, which for me is eggs and avocado toast (and sometimes vegetarian baked beans). And of course, Friday is most always pizza night because, balance!

Making time to work out
Easier said than done, absolutely, but the reason that I started running (in 2012, a few months after having Maddie) was because I needed something I could do anytime (ie. 5:00am when the baby is finally asleep), anywhere (home, vacation) and before the light of day so no one could see me huffing and puffing down the sidewalk. Now, I set my alarm clock for 4:30 Tuesdays and Thursdays to meet my friends for a 5 miler before I have to get Maddie up for school at 6:00. Every Saturday morning, no matter how fun Friday night ends up. I meet my running club at 7:00 for 5-10 (or more) miles. I LOVE sleep and I have children who night wander and end up sleeping on my head and getting up sometimes sucks but I always feel better after, always.

Every day I leave work for my lunch break (or sometimes later in the afternoon depending on meetings) and I go to the gym next door. Some days I ride my bike to and from work (6.5 miles each way). These might not work for you - maybe it is a quick run around the block in the evening or a trip to the gym after bedtime - if you want it bad enough you have to find the time and make it a habit. I promise, it is worth it. Need more motivation - get a buddy! Knowing that someone is waiting for you will keep you from hitting snooze or bailing out on your workout. Side note: it is also the most time I have with my friends to just talk without phones or kids or other interruptions.

Mix it up
Running is my jam, but after enough visits to the physical therapist I know that I can't do the same thing over and over and expect to be in peak shape. I also do spin and pilates classes at lunch once a week, join a friend for a strength training and core routine at the gym, and hop on the elliptical with Netflix. Sometimes I pop on a podcast and go through a routine with weights. This keeps me from getting bored or feeling stuck in a routine, while also making me a better runner.

I know, not very exciting, but I drink a ton of water. My mom got me a Sodastream for Christmas and I always start my morning at work with plain carbonated water and then fill that puppy up at least 4 or 5 times before I head home. I wish I could say it keeps me full (nothing does that but delicious food) but it does keep me hydrated!

I always cringe when I see another friend start a cleanse or a shake diet or beach body gym challenge because 99% of the time those things don't last. I know this from being 60 pounds overweight in college and a few times since then when the scale tipped A LOT out of my favor. If you can't incorporate something into your life for every day, don't even bother. Sure, we all have that panic moment when we need to lose 5 pounds before a wedding, but that should be a big exception. Eating "clean" every meal of every day is not fun, so you have to give yourself some give and take. Everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another, but I promise you that starting with small changes that you can make a habit and working up to being a crazy person who runs at the crack of dawn is a lot easier than losing 10 pounds in a week only to gain it all back once you lay off the shakes and eat some real food again. Make it something that can be a part of your everyday life and you will be amazed with how easy it can be.

Hope this helps and if you are reading this looking for some motivation, let me know and let's meet up for a sweat session (or a beer, because, balance!).


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