Tag Archives: motivation

Bulgur Breakfast and Healthy Habits

Mmmmm…  I am eating the most glorious breakfast at this very moment. 

Last night I forgot to make a batch of Overnight Oats, so this morning I was left to ponder what to  make for breakfast.  Just as I was about to start a batch of Protein Pancakes, I saw it—a container of leftover bulgur from last night’s dinner.

Hmmm.  What could I make with this?  Could I make breakfast out of a dinner food??? 

Absolutely!

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I took 1 cup of the cooked bulgur, mixed in a smushed banana, large quantities of cinnamon, a swirl of maple syrup, and a dollop of cashew butter.  Stirred it all together and voila! 

Simple Leftover BULGUR BREAKFAST!

Bulgur is a whole grain that  has been eaten since ancient times.  It is actually known as man’s first “processed food.”  However, don’t be afraid to try this healthful grain.  When you think processed in today’s day and age you think preservatives, additives, added trans fats, sodium, etc.  However, bulgur is processed in modern times much in the same way as it was in ancient times.

In fact:

“Many of the wheat’s naturally occurring vitamins and minerals permeate the kernel during cooking thus maintaining more nutritive content than other forms of processed wheat products.” [Source]

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I say that if you haven’t already tried bulgur, you should give it a go!  It is wonderful as a side to any dish and can take the place of brown rice or cous-cous.  You can also try Vegetarian Halupkies or Stuffed Peppers

But enough about breakfast.  What I really wanted to talk to you about today is staying healthy with a hectic schedule.

As you may know, the past few weeks have been extremely busy for me.  Don’t get me wrong!  I’ve had a wonderful time traveling all over the state, visiting my alma mater, going on wine tours, watching my brother graduate, standing by my best friend’s side on her big day, closing out the school year, etc., but this continuous go-go-go has not had the best impact on my health.

Most of my meals have been super quick throw-togethers, and my workouts have also been super sporadic.  In fact, I think I have only worked out a total of 4 or 5 times since the second week of June!  My energy levels are low.  I have not been careful about meals and snacks.  And I just plain feel funky!

It is so easy to get out of the workout groove, yet so very hard to return to a regular routine of health and fitness. 

There will always be times in our lives when the daily grind will make it harder for us to stay on top of our game.  However, rather than beating ourselves up over the poor choices we’ve already made, we should just put our best foot forward to get back on track.     

They say it takes 30 to 60 days to make something into a habit.  So, if you want to make daily exercise a habit, then it is necessary to do some sort of physical activity every day for 30 to 60 days. 

I would like to reestablish the regular workout routine that I’ve left in the dust the past few months.  I am challenging myself to 60 days of physical activity.  Because rest is important, some of these workout days will consist of gentle yoga, long walks, or stretching routines.

Here is my Healthy Habits Challenge to you! 

Is there a healthy habit you would like to establish for yourself? 

Perhaps you wish to drink 8-12 cups of water a day?  Or eat 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies?  Maybe you need to get into the habit of flossing every night?  Or maybe, like me, you wish to make daily exercise a habit?

I challenge you to put your best foot forward in trying this habit for the next 30-60 days.  If you would like, leave a comment below letting us know what Healthy Habit you are trying to establish, and we can provide each other with support. 

Here’s to Happier Hearts and Happier Minds!

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Enchiladas Sin Carne

Buenos Noches, amigos! 

I just got back from taking a short two mile run with Larry around our newly paved track.  Two miles doesn’t sound like much, but considering that before he walked in the door I was ready to put my PJs on and climb under the covers, I think it’s a pretty amazing feat!  😉

I didn’t get much sleep last night.  The dogs kept waking me up and I don’t think I fell into a deep sleep until about 15 minutes before my alarm went off.  Well, maybe not, but the screaming alarm at 5:45 AM did make me want to cry big, fat alligator tears.

To top it all off, when I left for work the puppers were nice in cozy in my bed sound asleep!

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Today wasn’t too shabby for a Tuesday.  We spent a lot of time outside and my shoulders got a bit toasty on the playground.

Today’s lunch was leftover Avocado & Pinto Bean Enchiladas from Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink and Be Vegan (hence the meatless enchilada Spanish title tonight).  The leftovers may have been even better than the original dish. 

Last night I made Larry ground turkey enchiladas. 

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I made my own “meat” out of mushrooms, beans, onions, and cashew pieces.

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It was out of this world!

I have absolutely no desire to ever eat meat again after discovering so many delicious alternatives.  I truly believe that I like these enchiladas far better than any meat version I have ever tried.

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HERS & HIS

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HERS 🙂

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His and Hers to clean up…  ugh!  This is seriously the only downfall to making a meat and meat-free version of each meal.  But it is well worth it, and it makes both of us very, very happy 🙂

Tonight I plan on sleeping really well and waking up super refreshed.  I’ve been playing around with the idea of getting up early to go running before work.  Do any of you workout before going to work?

I’ve tried this before, but I find it especially hard to get up at 5 AM.

Any tips for getting used to a routine of early morning workouts???

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Waning Wednesdays

Hello!  Happy Hump Day!  How is your week going???

Lately I have found myself really dragging right after lunch.  My energy levels plummet and it takes so much will power to stay motivated.

It’s the worst. 

My students get insanely goofy and hyper after lunch. 

All I want to do is take a nap.

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I try hard to pack lunches that contain complex carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein, but even still, I find myself exhausted

Around lunch time I start to realize that even though I have been going strong for five straight hours, I still have another full day ahead of me.  I still have to finish teaching, plan lessons, run errands, clean my house, do laundry, cook dinner, workout, and relax.  Too much to do in only a few hours.  Just thinking about it makes me tired. 

Today, on my way to work at 7 AM, I decided to turn the radio off, and really think about what I needed to do to stay motivated once the kids left, so that I could try to be more productive outside of the classroom. 

I decided that if I truly want to get things done in the evenings, I need to leave work earlier.  I often stay long after the kids have left for meetings, to grade papers, plan lessons, and get organized.  However, no matter how long I stay in the evenings, the work never fades.  The next day there are still papers to grade, parents to e-mail, and meetings to attend.

Today I left at 3:30 and it was a wonderful decision.

When I got home I swept and mopped and dusted.  I also started my laundry…  I know, hard to believe, right?!?!?!?

Then I did this AWESOME workout from Shape Magazine.

Celebrity Workouts [Source]

It was the perfect combination of cardio and strength training.  I used a kettle bell, a band tied on the ends, and different sized dumbbells.  For the cardio, I did jumping jacks, kickboxing, ran up and down the stairs, and danced my little heart out.  After about an hour, I was a sweaty mess!

There were no groceries to be found in the kitchen, so Larry and I went out for fast food.

GASP!

No, we didn’t go through the drive-thru at Mickey D’s.  We went to Martin’s and got salads from the salad bar.  It was fast, and it was food, but fattening fast food it was not

I’m definitely going to try and leave work earlier more often.  I need to find ways to be more productive during the day, so I can leave without feeling guilt.  The work will be there tomorrow.  I must learn to value my personal life as much as my professional life.

How do you balance work and life outside of the office/classroom/workplace??? 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Adventures of a River Rat

Today was the best run I have had in a LONG time.  Maybe even the best run ever.  It wasn’t my fastest run, or the farthest, but it was by far the most fun!

Meg has become my running muse.  Not only has she become a running machine, but she also knows so many awesome routes to run! 

Today we ran the course from the James River 10K Scramble. 

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As you can tell from the description below, this is not your typical 10K:

“The start is on Brown’s Island. Go under the Manchester Bridge and head east on the canal walk to 14th Street. Go right and across the river on 14th Street over the Mayo Island Bridge. Make a right on the Floodwall walkway and continue up the floodwall (where the best views are of downtown and the river) and under the Manchester Bridge. Here you will have to climb a series of very steep steps on the side of the old Manchester Bridge.  The runners will go up the stairs and across the bridge over the railroad tracks to the back-side of the new SunTrust Building and go under the Lee Bridge along Riverside Drive and go up to the 22nd Street pedestrian bridge and back to the river. Continue west along the gravel road to the James River Visitors Center.  Return on a series of trails back to the "dryway". Cross the "dryway" by rock hopping across the dry river bed to Belle Isle. Go up a steep trail and along the top of Belle Isle heading east and back down a major hill and then back across the footbridge to Tredegar Street and back east to finish on Brown’s Island.” (Source)

Here is a picture of the VERY STEEP STEPS :)  I had no idea how steep they were as I was climbing up!!!

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This is how the rock hopping should have looked, but the river was so high that we couldn’t find a way across.

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We eventually found a foot bridge, and climbed a small mountain of rocks to the top :)  My buns got a great workout from all of the climbing today 🙂

Once across the river we were on Belle Isle.  The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. 

We visited a few historical markers along the way, and of course, I had to stop to read the signs.  I am my father’s daughter 😉

These rapids are appropriately named Hollywood Rapids.  Can you see Hollywood Cemetery on top of the river bank???   

We then sprinted across the suspension bridge back to our car, and drank loads of cold H2O.

Our total time out running today was 1 hour, 20 minutes.  We spent 53:05 of those minutes actually running, and the rest of the time was spent climbing steps, ramps, and rock mountains, reading historical makers, contemplating the best way across the river, and redirecting ourselves after being slightly lost at certain points.  It was a wonderful adventure! 🙂

I can truly say that I have finally reignited my relationship with running.  I think it’s important to point out that I didn’t do this on my own.  It took asking a friend for help.

Here are some important lessons I have learned this week:

1) Ask a friend for help in reaching your goals.

Whether it’s asking a friend to go on a long run with you, or asking their opinion of group classes at the gym, good friends will provide you with the support you need.  Working out with a buddy means that you have to stick to the agreed upon schedule, and can’t keep putting it off.  It also means you will have more fun!!!

2) Research alternatives for familiar routines.

For me, running had become a monotonous chore due to the fact that there are very few routes near my house that are conducive to  longer runs.  Looking up race routes provided me with new (and adventurous!) running paths that took away boredom and added excitement. 

Keeping it fresh means you won’t get bored.  Try a new running route, a new class at the gym, or buy a new workout DVD.  Constantly switch up your routine to avoid monotony.   

3)  Celebrate your successes!!!!  

There is a certain high that comes with accomplishment.  After running almost nine miles on Monday, I was feeling rather proud of myself!  I couldn’t wait to get back out on the road!!!

4) Have fun!!!

You do not have to set records every time you strap on your running shoes.  Exercise should be enjoyable!  Do you enjoy tennis or riding bikes?  How about swimming laps at the pool?  There is no law that says in order to call it a workout you have to spend 45 minutes on a treadmill people watching.  The important thing is that you move.  Do what you enjoy!  You will be more likely to stick with it!  :) 

I can’t help but feel great about my workouts this week.  I’ve run about 17 miles total, and have worked out every single day since Saturday.  The endorphins are running strong!  I feel great!

I think I’ll go for a short 3 mile run tomorrow and do some ab work  ;)  Now I’m off to finish my Chelsea Handler book that has me CRACKING UP!!!

How do you keep your workout routines fresh and exciting???

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Q&A and Eat What You May

Since starting this blog I’ve received a lot of questions.  But one question really struck me today, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

One of my BEAUTIFUL co-workers quietly asked me during lunch today, “How do you do it?”

This question struck me, because I don’t feel like I do anything special, or out of the ordinary. 

I am NO angel.Angel

As a matter of fact, yesterday I didn’t work out for the second day in a row, and I gorged myself with a cookie at lunch, two cinnamon squares after work (they  were very small… I swear!), and a piece of Whitman’s chocolate before bed.  Yesterday was a very long, and very indulgent day.

I confess that quite often I have very little self control.  If it is there, I will eat it.  If there are French fries on the menu, I’m ordering them.  And if a student brings me a homemade cupcake for their birthday, 9 times out of 10 I am going to eat it. 

I believe in eating clean 98% of the time, staying active, and living a little!  What is a world without French fries and birthday cupcakes???!!!

If you deprive your body and mind of what it wants, you’ll just want it more and more and more!  You will make yourself miserable!

I have a “happy weight” where my clothes fit their best, where I don’t feel like I have to constantly suck in my gut, and where I feel the most confident.  As soon as my clothes begin to feel snug, or I find myself slouching with a pooch hanging out, I know that I’ve overindulged, and it’s time to readjust my workouts and eating habits. 

However, I find it’s easiest to maintain this happy, healthy weight rather than waiting for it to become a problem so that I then have to drop a few pounds. 

My secret weapon: exercise. 

Not only does exercise make me feel good, but I’ve found that it is the best way to allow myself those indulgences without any negative consequences.  And it almost always makes me feel better. 

Take this evening for example.  I stayed at work until around 5, and I didn’t really feel very well.  My throat has been hurting all week, and I have been feeling super exhausted. 

Sounds like the perfect night to skip a workout and hole up on the couch, right? 

I seriously dreaded working out all the way home, but I knew I had to work out.  The first 5 minutes of any workout are always the hardest for me.  So, I gave myself a five minute punk out card.  If after five minutes, I still didn’t want to work out, I had full “permission” to stop without any guilt.

But guess what?!?!?  I felt great after I got moving and could feel my muscles working and my lungs filling with oxygen.  This is seriously one of the best feelings in the world.  Endorphins are no joke, my friends!

I guess what I am trying to say in this long rambling post is, I know what makes me feel good and I stick to it.  I try not to over think it (although Larry may disagree), and I try to stick to as healthy of a diet as possible so that when I do want to indulge, I can. 

I know I feel best when I eat healthy and exercise.  But this doesn’t mean that I am a saint!  ;) 

So, my advice would be this:

  • Pick what makes you feel good and stick to it!!!  But remember that this is different for everyone.  What makes me happy may make you miserable! 
  • Allow yourself indulgences without guilt.  Life is only as tasty as you make it!

When do you feel your best?  What challenges do you face that prevent you from always feeling your best, and how do you overcome these challenges? 

PS…  I would really love for you to leave comments below!  We can learn so much from one another!  Feel free to share! 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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