Time for a New Week’s Resolution!

Since an entire year is just too long for me to stay focused on a goal, I am hereby making a New Week’s resolution. Small steps, over time, lead to great results. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And so on.

This first one seems like a very small step. My diet has not been good at all since the holidays. Our New Year’s dinner was fabulously healthy, and I totally enjoyed the tasty leftovers. Once they were gone, though, I did not keep eating the same kind of wholesome meals. So, Weekly Resolution #1 aims to get me back on track.

Goals work best when they are SMART goals, which means:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. My goal is to eat at least two servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit every day for a week starting today.  Is it specific? Yep. I will know each day if I have hit the target. It’s also measurable, and attainable, and realistic, and there is a time component. Now all that is left for me to do is, well, eat the veggies and the fruit every day for a week.

Feel free to join in. It’s only seven days, after all. The days will pass either way. No, French fries are not a vegetable – and don’t think you’ll just get the onion rings instead. If you are on the fence, let me nudge you off your fence:  It Is Only Seven Days. You can do anything for 7 days! Bon appétit!

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Reaching Your Goals, One Week at a Time

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? I have to admit, I don’t even remember making any. So, apparently I am not doing so well with mine either.

All is not lost!  Perhaps you will join me in a slight variation on this annual theme. A friend sent me an e-mail message about her “New Year’s resolution . . . for this week”. Brilliance! A year is far too long to stay focused on one or two goals for most of us anyway. What about creating a new goal every week, and getting to the big goal for the year by taking one step at a time?

I’ve heard that Benjamin Franklin focused on one of his core values, or virtues, each month, then moved on to the next one for the next month. He did that for most of his life, just keeping himself focused on the values that were most important to him. It seems to have worked out pretty well – after all, we still know who he was and some of his many accomplishments more than 200 years after his death.

What do you want to accomplish in 2014? And once you know that, what small chunk of your goal can be done in one week? For a goal to lose 50 pounds, for example, this is easy to figure out – aim to lose at least one pound a week. Other goals may be more complicated, but slicing a big goal into manageable chunks is a great strategy.

I’ll be starting my first week’s goal on Monday. The first week will be about nutrition for me, making better food choices, so that gives me the weekend to plan some meals and get the kitchen stocked for success. Plus, Monday is the best day to start on a goal. Also, I am a natural-born procrastinator. But Monday? Yes, I will be starting this goal on Monday for sure.

How about you, are you in? What can you do for one week that will make a difference in your life? Dream big and let’s make it happen!

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For more information on the values that Franklin lived by, click here.

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Welcome to 2014!

And, just like that, the curtain has dropped on 2013. The next chapter is just beginning – and yet today is, in all other ways, just an ordinary winter Wednesday.

The magic of the new year will be in what you choose to make of it. Go ahead and dream big! There’s an old saying that you should build your castle in the sky – and then start building the foundation under it.  I’ll be spending part of today working on my foundation, how about you?

I wish you a happy and healthy New Year full of friends, family, and successes!

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Getting Fit in 2014, Part 2

Part 1 of the plan to get fit in the new year was all about making a gradual adjustment toward eating healthy foods. It’s just one step at a time, eliminating the foods that you know are not doing you any favors.  This next part is about moving your body to the point of sweat. Yes, that is just another way to say “exercise”.

Remember back in school when you had to do P.E. class and you hated it? I remember that too. I was a math nerd, before nerd was even a word, and I hated gym class. Hated the uniforms, hated the calisthenics, hated being chosen last for a team to play whatever game we were about to play. Even in grade school there were kids who could play any sport with ease, and then there were those of us who were lousy at all of them.

Grade school was a long time ago for me, and probably for you too. We have learned since then that there are things we are good at, and hopefully we have learned to value those things about ourselves. I learned to put my math brain to work and built a nice career for myself. I learned to use my caring, coping, and problem-solving skills. But I was still not good at playing sports, and so for awhile I avoided exercise.

Now, here is the magic:  It does not matter that you can’t hit a softball with a bat, can’t make a basket even from 2 feet away, or can’t properly kick a soccer ball. You can still get fit without doing any of those things. You don’t have to go to a gym, either.

There are some awesome workouts from Beachbody now that are only 30 minutes long. Anyone can squeeze in a 30-minute workout, especially one that does not require driving to a gym! Click HERE to get a preview of P90X3 workouts!

Thirty minutes a day. Lots of modifications, so even if you think you can’t do a move, there is an easier way being modeled just for you. Yes, you can get fit – at home – with no gym membership – with no driving – in the sweats or shorts that you are most comfortable wearing. Just you and a DVD player. You CAN do it, the only questions is: Will you do it?

I am starting P90X3 myself on January 20th. Join me! You have a couple of weeks to get the program ordered so you will have it in time – Here’s the link to order the Base P90X3 Kit.. Let me know that you are IN and I will add you to my private Facebook page so we can all encourage each other. I’m looking forward to working out with you!

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Getting Fit in 2014, Part 1

So, let’s say you have decided to get yourself fit in 2014. You are drawing a line in the sand. At midnight, as December 31st rolls into January 1st, you are giving up the sweets, the beer, the fried food. You are going to finally start to exercise. This is your year, and you are worth it.

How will you achieve this thing called fitness? Will you count calories, or count carbs, maybe go Paleo? Will you start doing pushups and crunches, squats and lunges, and jumping jacks? Have you considered this:

“There is no diet that will do what eating healthy does.
Skip the diet. Just eat healthy”

My local produce market just posted that on their Facebook page. Skip the diet. Just start making simple changes to a more healthy way of eating. Replace French fries with a salad. Change out the bacon cheeseburger in favor of grilled chicken and broccoli. As you eat better food, you’ll find you eat less because your body is finally getting what it needs.

January 1st is not quite here yet. You have a couple of days to get ready. Browse through your local produce market. What looks good to you? Sweet potatoes, baked and sprinkled with a little cinnamon, are delicious. Bell peppers and onions are good grilled or sauteed with chicken for simple fajitas, served with salsa on corn tortillas. Oranges, apples, and bananas are popular, easy to take along in the car or to the office, and a better choice than donuts or Danish.

Making healthier choices is an evolution. You don’t have to jump straight to kale and hummus. Make the small changes and gradually try new foods as you go along. It may take a little longer to reach your goal than Plan B – drinking Slim-Fast three times a day – but making the healthier choices will keep you lean for life. The Slim-Fast plan will have you dumping your New Year’s resolution long before we even get to February. Choose healthy!

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Keeping Those New Year’s Resolutions

The days between Christmas and January 1st have always been meditative for me. It is time to buy a new calendar for the wall, and new pages for my planner. I’m running out of time to hit any goals that I may have had for 2013. The new year will arrive very soon, so I am giving thought to what I want to achieve in 2014.

All of the traditional New Year’s resolutions seem to be about health. Typically, we vow to (a) quit smoking; (b) lose weight; (c) eat more vegetables and less fast food; (d) spend more time with friends and family; or (e) get out of debt. Yes, the last two are about health too – in this case, mental health and peace of mind. A new year, a new calendar, means a clean slate. You can start fresh, and re-make yourself into the person you have always wanted to be.

The bad news about resolutions is that you are starting the new year with all the bad habits you had the year before, and probably for a bunch of years before that as well. The notion of a “clean slate” is an optimistic over-simplification.

Ah, but there is good news about resolutions. Who made those bad habits into habits to begin with? Correct, it was you. And since you created the habit of eating too much fast food, you also have the power to un-make that habit. This is excellent news!

I’m not saying that it is easy to break the old patterns that are not giving you the life or the health you want.  I am saying that it can be done and that you are the only one who can do it. Start on January 1st or start now, but start by imagining how much better your life can be. Write down all the great things that will happen when you spend more time with your family. Make it real, imagine yourself already reaping the rewards of the changes you want to make. Write it down, in all the detail you can think of. The more clear you can get about WHY you want to quit smoking, lose weight, or whatever it is for you, the better your chances are of making a lasting change.

Keep that piece of paper, the one listing how great it will be to reach your goal, in your wallet so you will see it often. Or tape it to the bathroom mirror so you start and end your day looking at it. Use it as a bookmarker, type it into your screen saver, just get it in front of your eyeballs a few times a day.

Most people don’t make it through January without giving up on their resolution. You don’t have to be one of those people. I am rooting for you. You can do it!

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Gluten-Free Biscotti Recipe

What special treats does your family enjoy for your Christmas breakfast? I’m looking for ideas. I tried a recipe for gingerbread pancakes that was okay, but there are a few things I’ll be changing the next time I try it. Once it’s just right, it will be on here for you to enjoy.

In the meantime, still looking. Last night I baked this lovely biscotti to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. The recipe calls for chocolate and dried cranberries, but it occurs to me that you can add whatever you like to the basic dough. I went with chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. It would also be beautiful for the holidays with white chocolate, slivered almonds, and dried cranberries.

Here’s what you need:

½ cup agave nectar or honey
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups almond flour (also called almond meal)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup chocolate chips or chunks
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

And, here’s what you do:

  1. In a large bowl combine agave, eggs and vanilla and blend with a hand mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together almond flour, salt and baking soda
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined then fold in chocolate, cranberries and chopped pecans
  4. Transfer dough to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and form a log about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide
  5. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes
  7. Transfer log to a cutting board and cut into ½ inch slices on the diagonal
  8. Place the biscotti on the parchment lined baking sheet
  9. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes, turn slices over and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown
  10. Remove from oven, let cool until crunchy about 20 minutes and serve

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Source:  http://www.elanaspantry.com/cranberry-chocolate-biscotti/

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