Do the next thing – Water

Here come the resolutions – one of the most popular being to lose weight or to be healthier.  I am all about the idea of taking steps to be healthier.  Weight is a component of that, but we tend to get very focused on the scale.  That is not the ONLY indicator that you are living a healthy lifestyle.  Thus, the focus is on doing the next thing to make those healthy lifestyle changes. 

The important thing here is not to do the same things you have already done, and I have done them, too.  Start on New Year’s or the first available Monday, try to do everything at once, get overwhelmed and frustrated, snarf down an entire plate of cheese enchiladas and a basket of chips, and completely trash the entire program within a month.  Why does that happen?  Let’s go back and look at the magic words “try to do everything at once.”  That becomes too much to keep track of.  If we are going to make lasting changes, we need to integrate them into our lives so that they become part of our new normal.  Also, don’t start on Monday.  Mondays are bad enough as is, so let’s not make them worse by adding the stress of a new lifestyle on top of that. 

One of the simplest starting point is this:  hydration.  We’ve all heard this and that about water – everything from the standard 64 ounces a day to everyone must drink at least a gallon of water each day.  This type of one size fits all thing was always very arbitrary to me  So, on the advice of my Crossfit box, I went to  http://www.hydracoach.com/calculation/ which offers an individualized calculation of how much water you should be drinking.  It is simple, get your number and start drinking that much water.  Yes, water. Not soda, not sugary coffee drinks, not juice – water.  If your activity level changes, go back and recalculate.

I’m no expert, but it seems this is an easy and logical place to start. 

This is not hard.  This is not overwhelming.  It is just a simple change that can get you moving toward making healthier choices.  Focus on this for the week. 

One thing at a time. 

The Perfect Moment

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Let me introduce you to Bob.  His full name is Bob T. Cat, and this is what he does a good portion of the morning.  He sits in the window sill, watches, and waits.  He’s waiting for that perfect moment to come along when he can finally pounce on the squirrel that taunts him from the palm tree outside.  He’s been doing this for years.  His ears will go back, his tail will twitch, he will crouch in the pouncing position, and then do absolutely nothing.  Why? 

The perfect moment does not exist.

There. 

I said it. 

You may be thinking, “That’s not it at all.  Obviously, he does not pounce because the window is in his way.”  Partially, that may be true.  But I’ve seen this maneuver from him in other situations – get ready, get set, and….walk away.  Hmmmm….

We are not all that different from Bob T. Cat.  We spend so much time thinking “when I get a promotion/graduate/lose 40 pounds/color my hair/get a better car…” or any other event or acquisition that you can use to fill in this blank, that will be the perfect moment. Then we can make our move.   However, we never actually DO anything in the interim.  We are waiting for that magical moment to make the birds sing and make our lives oh so much better. 

Sorry, kids.  It ain’t gonna happen for you. 

Why?  Because the perfect moment does not exist. 

There will be moments, but never the perfect one.  We just need to take our moment and DO something.  Anything that will move you in a positive direction.  We can’t just sit back and wait for the moment to come to us; we have to go out and get it. 

So today, take your moment, and take a single step in a positive direction.  Or take several steps, or a giant leap if that is what you need to do.  I’m not saying to do anything drastic like quitting your job, selling your belongings, and moving to the South Pole.  What I am saying is if indeed you want something better, if you want to make positive changes, then do something about that, and do something about that today.  Don’t wait for the “when I’s” to happen, because they may not.  And then what will you do? 

One step.  That is all.

 Because the courage is not in finishing the race, but taking the first step. 

Right here.  Right now.  In this moment.   

Leftover Lotto – Turkey Salad

During halftime, I was feeling a little ambitious both because the Texans were actually winning and for the first time in almost 24 hours, I was not running fever and was almost human.  Lunch sounded really good.  I opened the fridge knowing I did not want leftover roast again, nor did I want the BBQ that was there.  What I found was leftover turkey, sour cream, and dill pickle relish.  WIN!  Turkey salad it is!

Take the turkey and chop it up. I have a Pampered Chef chopper, so I used that.  Place the chopped turkey in a bowl and add the dill pickle relish.  I add quite a bit because I love pickles.  Then add your sour cream.  How much you add is up to you. I am a product of the “Don’t Drown Your Food” generation, so I add just enough so that it sticks together.  Mix. And there it is…turkey salad.  Sometimes I also add dried cranberries, and I guess you could drizzle a little leftover cranberry sauce over your salad. 

Since you probably still have leftovers from Christmas, you can serve this open face on a leftover piece of bread or biscuit. 

This also works well with leftover ham or chicken. 

The good news is that my turkey salad was yummy.  The bad news is the Texans lost.  On some terrible plays…like the giant interception at the end…  But I had a nice lunch. 

Do the Next Thing

New Year’s is rolling around, which means both looking back at the year that passed and making plans for the year to come.  And those resolutions…yikes!  We all want to eat more healthy food and less junk, exercise more…or just exercise at all, become more organized, improve time management…and the list goes on and on.  And for some, those resolutions will be completely shot by the end of the first week.  Why? 

It is simple.  Too much too fast is too overwhelming.  If you want to succeed, you just need to do the next thing. 

It was one of the best pieces of advice I received when I started Crossfit.  I wanted to be stronger, eat cleaner, and be a competitor within the next six weeks.  A little unrealistic?  Absolutely.  And those who were wiser said to me not to try to do everything at once because I would get freaked out and overwhelmed.  They were absolutely right. 

I simply needed to do the next thing.  Become very consistent with training. THEN stay hydrated.  THEN begin to eliminate grains from my diet by changing one meal at a time.  None of this happens overnight.  As I worked, I had to focus on doing the next thing.  One good decision led to another.  And all of the good decisions I made were never to be negated by one or two bad ones.  This allowed me to be human.  I love that; I am allowed to be imperfect. 

So if you are looking to make changes in your life, determine a realistic goal.  The heavy emphasis here is on realistic.  You will not lose 20 pounds in the next month, or clean the clutter out of your entire house and have everything properly filed in the next two weeks.  Be honest with yourself.  Then, break this down into a series of achievable steps.  If you want to become more organized with your time, start with something simple – perhaps finding an app that you will use and using it for a few days.  Then add from there.  Doing the next thing will help you build up to achieving your goal. 

Do not doom yourself with a list of resolutions that serve no purpose than to overwhelm you and make you feel as if you have in some way failed.  No good can come from that.  Choose ONE realistic thing to do at a time, do it well, and then add the next thing.  You CAN succeed with that. 

Just do the next thing.  Nothing more. 

Leftovers….Now What?

Leftovers…they have taken over your refrigerator.  And you need to start sorting all of that out and making sure that it does not go to waste.  So what do you do?

  1.  Freeze the meat in dinner or single portion sizes. 
  2. If you have a ham bone, freeze that as well.  It would be great to flavor beans at a later date.
  3. Save the turkey bones to make turkey broth later.    
  4. Make a frittata with some of the leftovers.  Add veggies, and maybe a bit of the stuffing or ham or turkey or all of them, to a skillet.  Sauté the veggies in your fat of choice just to warm them a bit, and then add egg whites or several beaten eggs.  Add cheese if you would like, and then cook the eggs until they begin to set (just leave them there – don’t stir).  Put skillet in broiler to finish cooking.  Cool for a few minutes and then slice and serve with the leftover salad. 
  5. Make a hash.  Dice some of the leftover meat.  Add that and some potatoes to the skillet.  Add additional veggies.  Cook until potatoes are lightly brown.  Serve with the leftover salad. 
  6. Have a leftover potluck with your neighbors.  Make this as informal as you can; maybe watch football or play games.  This works well with leftover desserts. 
  7. Make open face sandwiches using the leftover bread. 
  8. Cornbread does freeze well, so you can save that for later. 
  9. Pack leftovers in divided containers so that you can take them to work for lunches.
  10. Take it to work or to an appropriate gathering and share it. 

Be realistic.  If you are not going to be able to consume the leftovers in a reasonable amount of time, you may have to throw some things out.  I hate to waste, too, but there does come a point in time where it is just no longer safe.