Shake It Up
Sometimes I feel like my life is my own little version of the movie Groundhog Day. I wake up at the same time, follow the same routine, rotate the same foods, do the same workouts, ad nauseum. It’s so easy to stick with what’s familiar, isn’t it? There’s no planning or preparation involved when you’re just doing what you do every day. And, even though I’m someone who revels in routine, even I get sick of this rotation after a while.
So this week, I tried to break this cycle as much as possible. I wanted to make new meals, I wanted to do new workouts, and I wanted to try new things. I’m happy to report that there was success on all three fronts!
Grocery shopping usually takes me a hot minute because I rarely buy anything new. This is all well and good because I know what I’m buying fits in my budget and is reasonably healthy, but man it’s boring. Without breaking the bank (or even stretching the limits of my imagination) I tried a few new meals this week.
Instead of my usual salad or tuna sandwich for lunch, I tried something new at the end of this week (when I was getting low on groceries but was too lazy to go shopping). This is not a recipe, I warn you. But it was delicious:
- scrambled eggs
- sauteed spinach
- brown rice
- leftover sweet potatoes
- Red Hot, S&P
This took me a whopping five minutes to make, and it was one of the tastiest, most filling meals I’ve made in a while. Yum.
I also made chicken burgers for dinner (in lieu of my usual chicken stir fry) which I rarely ever do unless Nick’s in town. Simply:
- lean ground chicken (I find that extra lean is too dry)
- McCormick steak seasoning
- jalapenos (I’m having a moment with jalapenos right now, apparently)
- Red Hot (Um, ditto?)
Mixed, formed into patties, and cooked on the stove. Again, so simple, fast, and delicious. Triple win!
The easiest way to switch up your workouts? Sign up for one of the million free plans out there on the Internet.
I decided to roll with the Tone It Up Girls’ eight week Bikini Challenge series.
I’ve done a few of their workouts before and, while they’re nothing ground breaking (mostly HIIT cardio and a series of low weight/high rep toning sessions), I do like that they email you a new workout every day, and you never know what you’re getting. That element of surprise means that it’s a constant challenge, I can’t get bored, and (perhaps best of all!) I don’t have to do any workout planning on my own.
So far, I’ve found the workouts to be challenging and effective (I’ve ended most of them feeling a little bit noodle-y which is one of my favorite feelings ever). I definitely plan on sticking it out for the entire plan—one week (almost) down, seven to go!
Ok, so this one is harder to switch up, only because my life during the week follows the very simple pattern of work-gym-dinner-work/grad school-bed. But I have been trying to mix things up even just a little bit during the week. Simple things I’ve tried:
- After-dinner walk
I love this time of year, when it’s just warm enough to enjoy being outside. This little bit of fresh air is something I’ve been looking forward to every day.
- Set aside more reading time instead of Internet time. I’m reading this right now; it’s a big departure from Game of Thrones (which I’ve been knee-deep in since last summer!), but it’s probably one of the better modern fiction books I’ve read in a very, very long time.
- Stop eating mindlessly at work and after dinner. This was getting to be a bad habit of mine, and I finally took active steps to stop it from continuing. Most of my snacking happens either when I’m bored at work or later in the evening when I’m bored and not even hungry to begin with. It’s been surprisingly easy to stop; I simply focus my attention elsewhere: reading my book, grading papers, Skyping with Nick, whatever. It’s only been about a week, and I already feel better!
It doesn’t seem like a lot, but all of these little changes have been super easy to make, and I’m feeling healthier, more energized, and more relaxed than I have in a while. Just another clear reminder to myself that, every once in a while, it’s good to shake things up!
Happy weekend, all!