What is “Healthy”? Part II

Hey all! I hope you had a wonderful week. I know I did! I drove home on Wednesday to surprise my mom for her birthday and she definitely loved it. My whole family went out to dinner. It was the first time all of the kids had been together for her birthday at her favorite restaurant in 15 years…crazy right? Where does the time go? Needless to say, I think she had a memorable day.

I hope you’re ready for part II of the “What is ‘Healthy’?” series. I’m very excited to share this information with you because it applies to more than just nutrition and fitness. The lessons you will learn today are concepts you can apply to every aspect of your life. Since starting this blog, I’ve truly fallen in love with sharing a holistic approach to life because I’ve come to realize that there’s more to living than just nutrition and fitness. That might sound obvious to some of you, but to others that are very into this lifestyle, it is a hard concept to grasp. Some people that hear this will probably have a reaction similar to the one a professional athlete would have when you tell him or her there is more to life than just sports. But like I said, you can apply these concepts to other areas of your life as well…work, school, etc. So let’s dive in…

To remind you of Monday’s post, we were talking about the importance of finding sustainability because what is sustainable is what you are likely to stick to in the long term. For example, most diets are not sustainable, which is why whenever you go on one you end up gaining all the weight back that you lost. Most diets are centered on the “lose 10 pounds in two weeks” approach, which causes a person to shed weight very quickly, but deprives him or her so much so that the moment the diet is over he or she loses control around food. Thus, the pounds pack on. As a side note, studies show the more often someone diets the more one’s metabolic rate slows making it easier for the pounds to come back.

To combat this, we focus on building sustainability in a few parts:

  1. Write down a realistic goal: First of all, having a reason to do something makes you more likely to do it. Secondly, studies show that by writing it down, you are more likely to stick to it. Place the goal somewhere you will always see it, that way you are reminded why are you doing what you are doing. This goal needs to be realistic. For the busy professional who eats out every night, suddenly deciding to cook dinner every night to be healthy is not a realistic goal. Cooking dinner 2-3 nights a week is.
  2. Create a path: In addition to having a goal, you need to have a strategy to achieve it. For the above example, this individual is trying to eat out less. A path for them might include attainable steps including: making a menu for 2-3 nights, going grocery shopping on Sunday to buy the ingredients, cooking those meals with enough leftovers for lunch the next day, and still eating out the remainder of the nights. Think about it…you can’t drive from Tampa to Miami without a path and the same concept applies here.
  3. Be flexible: I tell this to my clients all the time…life happens. The above individual might have to stay late at work unexpectedly, so he or she can’t make dinner one night. That’s okay. While there is a goal to be achieved, accomplishing them takes a while. If it didn’t, we would all be perfect and there would be no stress. Achieving goals is a journey. Sometimes there will be potholes in the road or more traffic than usual. There will be situations out of your control. The best thing to do in these scenarios is to take a breather and get back on track as quickly as possible. Now, this is not an excuse to slack. Sometimes you will need to be uncomfortable, but if it were easy everyone would be doing it.
  4. Love yourself: I’d argue that mental health is more important than physical health. You can’t achieve anything without your mind being in the right place. You need to love who you are and be confident in what you’re doing. Don’t decide you want to lose weight because you saw some skinny model on a magazine cover. Healthy isn’t what’s on the outside. It’s what’s going on inside. What’s a good reason to lose weight or start exercising then? To give yourself the possibility of being with your family for longer, to be able to play soccer with your kid, to be able to grow old with your significant other and meet your great grandchildren. If you decide to make a change, do it for the right reasons. So do yourself a favor, and take some time for you to rejuvenate your mind and do some soul searching…you might be surprised at what you find.

All in all, healthy is doing what works for you. For me, it’s working out 5 days a week, having quick healthy meal options on hand, and taking time every morning to get my mind in the right place. Am I perfect? Not in the least, and that’s okay. Life’s a learning experience and sometimes I’m going to slip up. Coming to terms with that is something I’ve recently done, and I can tell you I’ve never been happier. Take every fall and learn from it…

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

I hope this post was beneficial to you even though it was long. Thank you for sticking around to the end…and for your reward, you’ll find a delicious recipe below. Cheers to the weekend 🙂

So, I realized the recipe I was going to feature was not a fast one at all, but it’s so good! I’m not going to tell you what it was because it will be featured next week…get ready! Don’t get upset, though, because this “Slow Cooker Taco Lentil Soup” is just as amazing 🙂 I decided to feature it from another blog I love to follow called Ambitious Kitchen. Monique puts out such amazing content and delicious recipes, so definitely go check her out. But about this Lentil Soup…yum! What’s easier than dumping a bunch of stuff in a slow cooker, turning it on, and coming home to a homemade meal? Not to mention the smell fills the house! You’ll notice there’s no meat in it, but it has a whopping 37 grams of protein per serving. The lentils give it a meaty taste and texture, so I promise you won’t miss the beef!

Slow Cooker Taco Lentil Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetarian broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you like a little heat!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • For topping: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • To garnish: Diced cilantro, sliced jalapeno, tortilla strips/chips, avocado, sour cream, Sriracha, or anything else you fancy 🙂

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add in olive oil, garlic, bell pepper, onion and jalapeño; sauté for 5 minutes or until onions begin to brown and soften. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients (except for the corn) to the slow cooker: lentils, crushed tomatoes, vegetarian broth, black beans and spices. Stir ingredients together to combine, then cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. 20 minutes before serving, stir in frozen corn.
  3. Once soup is done, distribute into bowls (or do a meal prep) and top each with two tablespoons of cheese. Garnish with with extra fixin’s such as cilantro and jalapeno. Makes 4 servings. Double the recipe for a crowd!

Here’s the link to the recipe if you’d like to check Monique’s page out! You can also find the nutrition information here:

https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2016/11/slow-cooker-taco-lentil-soup/

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