First off, I owe Emily a much belated THANK YOU! Over the summer, I won the most amazing blogger prize…Barre 3 videos! And because I was waist deep in marathon training and enjoying the outdoors, I placed them under my television and proceeded on with my training. It wasn’t until yesterday morning, when the temperature read 10 degrees and I didn’t have enough time to go to the gym that I finally unwrapped a video. It is common knowledge that I am a pretty poor home exerciser; however, I have really wanted to try a Barre class but don’t have one near by. I was recently complaining to my cousin that it’s tough in the midwest where we get the newest exercises classes after the east and west coast (Hello Soul Cycle! Come visit us here in Illinois!) and even when they do come to Illinois, it’s the city where they congregate and not my lame suburb. It’s with that in mind that I excitedly unwrapped my DVD and blew up my Barre 3 ball yesterday. The BOY helped me move the coffee table off to the side in our living room (and Cooper watched with wonder from beneath the table) and I tried to discover my inner dancer.
I used 2 water bottles for weights and a stool for a chair. The BOY sat in the living room occasionally peaking up over his computer to check it out. My abs were already sore to begin from Saturday morning’s yoga class, and they were definitely back at work throughout the 40 minute video. The video was broken into 4 10 minute segments focused on different areas of the body. The exercises moved quickly and I was having a lot of fun…even in my living room.
In the end, it was a great home workout and I’m hoping I can get motivated to exercise in my living room again. I’m sure as the mornings get even colder and darker, I will be happy to do strength work inside. And…because I just discovered a Dailey Method near my new job, maybe I will make it to a Barre class one day soon!
After my workout, I drove into the city to meet a friend for lunch. Despite the snow, the city was packed with people shopping, dining, and I even saw someone riding their bike. As we sat down for lunch with tea, a group of carolers dressed in authentic attire arrived to sing songs of the season. It was so fun! After lunch, I drove a few miles south to the Lakeview area. The snow was still pouring, but I easily found a place to park and ditch my car. I had plans to meet up with another friend and we had an incredible evening over a few glasses of wine.
Despite the cold, I walked all over the neighborhood. The snow made the city beautiful and it was such a fantastic (and random) evening. It definitely scratched my itch of wanting to move into the city! This morning, the snow was slushy and not nearly as pretty. Yet, my Mom and I braved the elements to walk to a Mindful Yoga class.
The class was peaceful and energizing…an ideal combination for Monday morning. There were only 3 us, so the class felt very personal and everyone at the studio was very friendly. Our next stop was to walk our Zen selves down to Starbucks for a gingerbread latte. We had to chuckle as we walked past my brother’s condo, wondering what he would think if he walked out his door as we strolled by. We spent the night at a friends house and went back there to shower before driving down to the loop for a lunch and learn. This is the real reason we were downtown, and I just tacked on a whole bunch of fun plans to maximize my time in the city.
The Lunch and Learn was focused on women’s healthy, specifically heart disease and the Red Dress Campaign. It was an intriguing presentation and really opened my eyes to some new health risks while reinforcing my desire to follow a healthy and active lifestyle. By the time I battled my way out of the city (does rush hour really start at 3pm?), I was not surprisingly exhausted. The last thing I wanted to do was meal plan and grocery shop. I wasn’t able to lure the BOY out of the house to join me at the grocery store, so I went straight there before home. I came up with a tentative plan in my head and tried to remember everything I needed (which I didn’t).
I left the grocery store with an overwhelming feeling of how difficult and time consuming it can be to prepare healthy meals during the work week. How does one make it all work? I learned from the luncheon how important LDL’s are in heart disease, and cholesterol is closely related to what we eat. So I want to have healthy and homemade options for lunch throughout the week and the same goes for dinner. But when I work a long day, it’s not always feasible to start cooking dinner at 8pm, which means that some preparation is necessary. I believe that frozen dinners have their place too, but am also well aware how the American diet is too high in sodium which is another risk factor for heart disease. Hmmm….where does that leave us? For me, the only answer is to just do the best that I can. And that is what I reminded myself as I walked in the door tonight at 5pm.
I knew once I sat down, I wouldn’t get up, so I went straight to the kitchen. I pulled some cans out of the pantry and combined that with some of groceries to pull together a hearty chili in the crockpot. Cooper tried to help. He was not helpful! I did forget a few ingredients, but just…did the best I could. Once chili was in the crockpot, it was time to get started on dinner. When I’m short on time and patience, I stick with something simple. For tonight, that meant salmon with roasted root vegetables (including the purple sweet potato I discovered at Mariano’s). I cooked 2 servings of fish and veggies to have enough for tomorrow’s lunch.
What I realized from tonight’s situation is that meal planning is hard and sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and say forget about it. But ultimately, I know that I feel better when I’m planning meals ahead of time because they are balanced and energizing, I spend less money eating out, and I do enjoy trying new recipes and sharing them with you. I also discovered that a quick grocery store trip for some basics (I was in and out in 20 minutes), can be enough to prepare me for the week ahead. It’s good to stock up on pre made options and chopped veggies, and it’s best to have a few GO TO recipes that you know from memory. When in doubt, 2 Ingredient Crockpot Chicken never disappoints and you can make it with salsa or BBQ sauce.
It’s good for me to remember that the outcome is always worth the effort. Some weeks, I will have more or less time than others to prepare for the week ahead and that is just okay! But for now, I am already all set with 3 hearty meals for tomorrow and can happily sink into my couch, curled up with Cooper, and a warm cup of tea to watch the Bear’s game.
I’m interested to hear…is it just me?
Or do you get tired of the extra effort it takes to prepare meals (and workouts) for the week ahead? What strategies do you use?
Meal Planning 12/09/13
Monday: Salmon with Roasted Root Veggies
Tuesday: Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili
Wednesday: Chicken Sausages (with steamable frozen veggies)
Thursday: Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps
Friday: We’ll just have to wait and see!
Breakfast: Banana Chia Bowl