5 Ways to Stay Healthy, Even at Your Busiest

I feel like I say this every time I’ve written lately, but life has gotten really busy.

I thought that cutting out a night of dodgeball each week would free up extra time in my weeknights, but in true Katie fashion, I’ve really just used it as an excuse to take on more non-dodgeball activities. My evenings seem to fill up with meetings, appointments, trips to my parents house to do laundry…..and sometimes a girl just needs to hit up happy hour after a long day.

Between work and after-work meetings (slash the aforementioned happy hours 😉 ), I often find myself arriving home after being out of the apartment for 10-12 hours and immediately plopping down on the couch to zone out while staring at the wall to give my brain – and body – a break. Ain’t nobody got time (or energy) to make dinner after a day like that!

Don’t get me wrong — I love my job and I love being busy. However, I also love feeling good about my body and what I’m putting in it. And to be honest, I don’t know that I can say I do right now. I’ve been struggling to find a balance between the two — being busy and being healthy — and I think my lack of substantive updates on the blog probably reflects that struggle.

To give myself some credit, I have been keeping up with my workouts – I still run 3x per week and ran 70 miles in April (which was the same # of miles that I ran in January and February, when I was training for my half marathon). I do strength training 1-2x per week, and I’ve been organizing weekend practices with my Ultimate Frisbee team…

However, I’ve also eaten cheese & crackers and/or french fries for dinner most nights this week.

In the spirit of keeping myself in check, and inspiring others to do the same, I’ve come up with a list of 5 tips for surviving the hectic workweek while still keeping a healthy lifestyle. As always, I’m hoping that writing this down for the world to see will help me be inspired to practice what I preach. That has yet to be seen, but at least I’m trying, right?

1) Break up the day with an actual lunch break

This is one that I could definitely work on. On the days these past weeks where I actually exit my office for at least 30 minutes for some kind of break in the middle of the day, I always end up feeling the most energized. That 2pm feeling of dread and desperation for coffee doesn’t exist on days that I actually see some sunlight or take a walk in the middle of the day. And chances are, if I’m not feeling bored/exhausted, I’m not as likely to dig in to the snack cabinet in the kitchen for a pick me up, either!

2) Eat 3 full meals

photo 1

Actually making sure you have 3 solid meals throughout the day is a big help in keeping you energized and also ensuring that you’re taking care of yourself. Of course, for me this is easiest when I do meal prep on the weekends (see above) and have stuff to grab in the morning for nutritious breakfasts and lunches. But making sure you don’t skip a meal is so clutch! I might try to rationalize a crackers & cheese meal as “hey I’m getting my protein AND my carbs!”….but we all know that’s a stretch 😉

3) Get up and move when you can

photo 4

I get it…Not everyone is gonna wake up at 6:30am to run 5 miles (and of course take a pre-run #workoutselfie that they then snapchat to all their friends).

If you can, great. But if not, there are other ways to stay active throughout the week that don’t involve your typical workout: Bike to work! Take a break to walk around your office building. Walk to lunch! I always feel like I’m more active on the days I walk to work, even if biking is a “tougher” workout. If you have the option, it’s nice to be able to spend your commute taking a relaxing walk and listening to music instead of struggling to get through traffic. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?

4) Swap out the junk food for healthier snacks

photo 3 (1)

If you need snacks to get you through the day…Make sure they’re good ones! Luckily, my office keeps some pretty healthy snacks in our breakroom. Pretzels, cashews and almonds…not too shabby! However, I’m pretty sure even the healthy fats in cashews and almonds lose their nutritional value when you have 5+ handfuls throughout the day. I try to buy baby carrots and other random fruits to snack on instead of fatty nuts. BUT I do love me some cashews…old habits die hard.

5) Most importantly….Don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day.

image

If you have a rough ass day at work and you want to just come home and have a drink with some chocolate and cheese…Then by all means, just do it. If you snoozed through your workout this morning after yesterday’s stressful late night at work, don’t turn down pizza night with your friends because you can’t afford the calories today.

Being hard on yourself just contributes to the stresses of life. Of course it’s great to have a regular fitness routine, and eat healthy…but we often forget that treating ourselves right emotionally is just as important.

It’s all about finding a balance.

Have a great weekend! Check back next week for a budget update 😀

 

How do you manage stress at work/school? I like taking at least one day out of the week to clean my room and paint my nails – those are my 2 relaxation activities!

What is an indulgence you never feel guilty about? I think having a glass of wine or 1 beer at the end of the day is one of the best things about being a working adult.

Advertisements

Meatless Monday: End of Summer Skillet

Living in an urban area with no car, you’d think I wouldn’t know how to make myself a good meal very often.

That’s the whole point of city livin’ when you’re young, right? Carrie Bradshaw never cooked. Her dinner always consisted making reservations at a swanky restaurant for a romantic dimly lit dinner date at that week’s hottest new restaurant with Mr. Big or a New York Yankee.

Not that Sacramento is anything like New York City or Chicago or even San Francisco, but hey. It’s not hard to eat out every night when you live within walking distance of half a dozen fairly nice restaurants.

My goal each week is to avoid that trap.

It’s not easy to make meals from scratch every night. I would be lying to you if I told you I did. But I do buy fresh produce from the market (or my parent’s backyard) (or from a box) every week, and it makes a huge difference in my meals. With fresh meat and produce, you can go a long way… especially with the help of Trader Joe’s:

I got most of my groceries from TJ’s in college, but there aren’t very any that are conveniently close to me now (why wait for a ride when I can walk 4 blocks to Safeway?). TJ’s makes it easy to make meals at home. Pre-made sauces, actually appetizing microwave meals, you name it. When I was in SF a couple weekends ago, I stopped in Berkeley on the way back for coffee and chit chat with my long time friend Briana, and was stoked to see she lives right above the amazing Trader Joe.

I picked up some Luna bars, some cookie butter-stuffed dark chocolate, and their Harvest Grain Blend. This stuff is really good — a mix of Israeli couscous, orzo, mini garbanzo beans, and red quinoa — and though it would be fine on its own, it lends itself perfectly to a 20-something who needs a quick dinner, but wants to add their own personal culinary flair too.

This recipe isn’t so much of a recipe as it is a challenge. I challenge you to buy the Harvest Grain Blend…or some other grain you’ve never tried before…and add whatever you want to it! Add your favorite veggies! Or your favorite sauce! I added the last of my parent’s summer garden veggies. I served it with chicken to my parents. Add whatever you want, just add something. Gone are the days that being 20-something means take-out every night. Free yourself! And your wallet 🙂

Now I will get up off my soapbox and just show you all the recipe already.

End of Summer Skillet
serves 2-3 as a side dish

1 Cup Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend (or grain of choice — Israeli couscous, orzo pasta, barley, rice, etc)
olive oil
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 zucchini
1/2 bell pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1 small tomato
1 tsp dried basil
s&p

Prepare grain blend per package instructions. While it’s cooking, dice all veggies to a similar size and shape (except tomatoes). Set aside cooked grains when finished.

In a somewhat large skillet on medium heat, heat olive oil and add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent. Add zucchini and bell pepper and cook until slightly soft. You don’t want to fully cook it yet, but you want there to at least be some brown bits on the pan. When this happens, add white wine and use spatula to deglaze the pan. Let the wine bubble until much of the liquid has evaporated.

While your other veggies are bubbling, chop the tomatoes to your preferred size, making sure to reserve the juices. Once most of the white wine liquid has evaporated in the pan, add in both the cooked grain as well as the tomatoes, tossing to make sure everything is coated.

Cook until heated through, and add basil, salt & pepper to taste.