Category Archives: Wellness

Sugar Detox: Recap

30-Day Sugar DetoxWell, I was going to do weekly posts on how the sugar detox was going for me, and I haven’t. Here’s my confession: Out of this six-phase program, I stopped reading halfway through phase four. And phase five was the actual whole-hog detox phase. So I didn’t even do the full detox, and I don’t know what it’s like. Oops.

But I don’t feel guilty.

One could say that I didn’t get the full value that I was paying for out of the program. I can’t really argue with that, it’s true. But here’s the thing: I got what I was looking for out of the program. And I still think it was worthwhile. I did make some serious changes to the way I eat this month. Here are my takeaways from this program.

I am an abstainer for specific foods. I would like to be a moderator… a person who can have just a little bite or two of a sweet treat and be satisfied, and then not have any more. But I cannot be a moderator with specific trigger foods – I have to abstain totally or I will eat unreasonable quantities in a single sitting. I already knew that ice cream, fruit pie and cookies were in the no-fly zone. But since trying to avoid sugary foods, I’ve learned that this problem extends to any food that I consider a tasty snack.

To avoid unnecessary sugar, I need to plan out my food much better, and snacks especially. Snacks are my weakness when it comes to sweets! And half the time, it’s not even due to a craving, it’s just poor planning. If I’m at work, it’s 10 am, I’m hungry and I don’t have any snacks? Guess I’m having a cookie or a muffin from the coffee shop. Having healthy food on hand is key.

There are some really great sugar-free snack options. My favourite go-to snacks now are bananas, pistachio nuts, apple slices dipped in natural almond butter, veggies with hummus, and sliced strawberries mixed with plain yogurt (never thought I’d see the day that I’d enjoy plain yogurt over a sweetened type, but see the next point…)

Your tastebuds & cravings change when they’re less accustomed to a flavour.  Now that I’ve become less used to sugar in everything that I eat, I don’t need as much of it to enjoy a food. And I have been genuinely enjoying plain yogurt with fruit instead of the sweetened vanilla kind, which now tastes cloyingly sweet to me. And today? I found myself craving OLIVES. This is WEIRD. But I’ll take it!

And the big reason I wasn’t really on board with the full detox… I become exceedingly sensitive to sugar if I’m not accustomed to it even in small quantities in my diet. In a bad way. I ate the least sugar for the first week on the detox. I was very proud of myself and my choices. But then when I did have a bit of sugar, BOOM. Debilitating headache, fatigue and dizziness. I am not okay with this.

I want to keep eating some sugar to keep my tolerance reasonable, but not indulge every day. I definitely have successfully kicked the cravings. But I don’t believe in avoiding fruit or natural sugars, and I think they’re necessary to keep my body accustomed to processing sugar without sidelining me with negative side effects. That way I can still indulge in actual treats like birthday cake or gelato on a date in the summer, without eating real sweets every day.

Sugar Detox: Week 1

Sugar DetoxAlthough it struck fear into my heart, I recently decided to enroll in Nicole‘s 30-Day Sugar Detox program, and boy am I glad I did. It launched at the beginning of June, so I’ve been working my way through the materials for just over a week now, and it’s been rather eye-opening.

I am a bit of a sugar fiend. I have a terrible sweet tooth – heck, my catch phrase is that I like a little coffee with my sugar and cream! I have gotten into the habit over recent years of having a “treat” every day, sometimes more than once a day: a muffin here, a piece of chocolate there, a danish for breakfast on a day that I’m running late. It’s not really a treat anymore if you’re eating it all the time, is it?

Most of the time if I indulge in a sugary treat, I feel like I can’t help myself. And with certain particular items, I feel like I can’t stop at one, either. (TIM TAMS, I’M LOOKIN’ AT YOU). I was aware that when Nicole kicked the sugar habit, she went whole hog and basically eats 100% sugar-free now, but this wasn’t really my goal… I just wanted to avoid obvious sources of sugar for the month and kick the cravings. I wasn’t concerned about added sugar in non-obvious places.

The first phase of the program was focused on our connection with food – really delving into why we eat the way we do, where patterns of sugar-eating formed, and creating alternative coping mechanisms for those instances. One of my most interesting takeaways was remembering a family dinner tradition from my childhood: my mum served dessert of some sort almost every day (even though most of the time it was just fruit or yogurt, it was still a sweet flavour), but my parents told us we had to “qualify” for dessert by finishing some arbitrary amount of our main entree before we could move on to dessert. I had never made the link before, but there it was glaring me in the face. I had learned to equate sweets as a reward. And I do that to this day. Make a big sale? Cake! Finished an intensive study course? Ice cream! Had a super productive weekend? Pie!

I also realized how often I eat crap just because I’m bored, and especially if I’m bored and lonely or stressed. So, the coping mechanisms I came up with when I start craving sweets were the following:

  1. Take a walk
  2. Call a friend, and if I’m upset or stressed, vent
  3. Do something on my to-do list… preferably not something at the computer or at my desk.
  4. Play a fun song and dance it out

I’m now in the second phase, which is the education phase of the program, and this got really interesting for me. You’ll remember that I had no intention of cutting out added sugars in non-obvious places, but I also didn’t think that they were in so many non-obvious places! Nicole gave us a list of all the different names used in ingredient lists for various types of sugar additives. I don’t even think the list was comprehensive, but boy howdy, it was a long list. And after comparing every pantry item in my kitchen against that list, there were some nasty surprises. Rice vinegar! Canned olives! Chicken stock! Black beans! Mayonnaise! My beloved lemongrass had no less than FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES of sugar additives. And I nearly cried to see sugar as the second ingredient in sriracha. (Thankfully, I was also happy to learn that dill pickles, marmite, and my particular brand of salsa, crackers and dijon mustard were safe.)

So, I’m still not giving up my beloved sriracha, but it got me thinking that maybe there are some easy switches I can make that will reduce my sugar consumption without even noticing. First things first, it’s probably time to start soaking and cooking my own beans and chicken/vegetable stock instead of relying so heavily on pre-packaged varieties. I will probably commit to the switch from processed to natural peanut butter. And in some cases, a simple brand change is all it will take… did you guys know that most commercially made mayonnaise has added sugar, but Trader Joe’s brand doesn’t? (Sidebar: I am obsessed with Trader Joe’s and want to start crossing the border every few weeks for a grocery stocking trip, so I’m TOTALLY FINE with another excuse to hit them up). I will be reading ingredient lists on food packaging much more carefully in the future.

The best part? I haven’t even avoided obvious sugar 100% since June 1, but I have definitely reduced it dramatically and I’m pretty sure I’ve kicked the daily cravings. Also? I’ve been breaking through a weight loss plateau without increasing my activity level!

Stay tuned for more about this as the month goes on.

Singleton Menu Planning: Creating a Weekly Plan

Part 1 about my basic approach to menu planning.
Part 2 about maintaining a well-stocked pantry & kitchen.

Source: Kyla Roma

Menu planning in process. Source: Kyla Roma

Now that you have stocked your kitchen and are down with the idea of leftovers, it’s time to get into what actual meals you’ll eat in a given week. Cooking for just one, I have a few tactics to eat well, keep my grocery bill down, minimize food waste and keep some variety in my diet. My tried, tested and true tips:

  • Pick one or two weekday breakfasts and have one of those two meals all week. Change up your breakfast plan each week so it doesn’t get boring.
  • Do the same thing for snacks.
  • Plan to eat out for lunch one day a week.
  • Plan two dinners cooked from scratch each week that will each feed me at least 3-4 meals, and portion them out for individual leftover meals after cooking.
  • Plan at least two dinners each week that are either a quick thrown-together meal from pantry staples, or dinner plans out.
  • Select meals that have some cross-over ingredients in the same week.

Now onto how I arrive at which meals get planned for each week.

Step 1: Do a quick fridge/pantry check to see what perishable goods I have on hand that need using up. This week, I had some cauliflower and kale that needed eating quickly, so I am making kale/spinach/banana/peanut butter/almond milk smoothies with toast for breakfast, and one of my weeknight meals is cauliflower curry.

Step 2: Consider what I’m craving along with any current dietary needs. Right now? I’m doing my best to eat fairly clean, so I need lots of fruits and veggies, but I’ve been craving comfort. That’s a tall order to combine comfort with clean eating, but roasting veggies does it for me every time… they just seem so much heartier and tastier to me when cooked that way! So I’ve also made polenta with sausage and roasted peppers & asparagus.

Step 3: Consult my recipe folder and my Pinterest recipe boards for inspiration. I use Pinterest with abandon to save any recipes from food blogs that I want to try. When I happen upon a winner, I print it out and keep it in my recipe folder, and also sometimes make notes on the Pinterest pin if there’s anything I want to remember for next time I make it. I delete any recipe pins that turn out to be duds, so my Pinterest boards are exclusively a source of stuff I like or stuff I really want to try. No bad recipes stay there.

Step 4: Can you use the same ingredients in two meals, so you won’t be left with fresh produce going to waste? A few ideas: I make kale chips or use kale in a soup or stew the same week that I make kale smoothies for breakfast. If I had sausage with polenta for dinner for a couple of nights, I might have a sausage with breakfast for a couple of days that week also. (Not on the same days!) Using half a pepper in your spaghetti sauce? Chop up the other half and fry it up with eggs for breakfast. Or as an alternative to using up leftover produce in another meal, I just buy/make hummus or some other dip and use the leftover fresh veggies with dip as a snack.

Step 5: Now that you’ve got your main meals sorted out, plan your snacks. I have a steady rotation of snacks I use, but I choose them based on what my meals are those days. I’m not going to have a granola bar for a mid-morning snack the same day I had toast for breakfast; I’m more likely to pick fruit or yogurt for nutritional variety.

Bonus, a couple of sample weekly menus for you!

Sample Week 1

Dinner 1: Minestrone soup (using The Foodess’ recipe as a great base)
Dinner 2: Sauteed swiss chard & spinach (cooked with garlic & lemon juice) with grilled chicken (This would probably feed me only 1 night, no leftovers)
Dinner 3: Creamy Chicken Stew (via Framed Cooks).
Breakfast all week: Homemade breakfast sandwiches – Fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon, sliced tomato & spinach on a toasted English muffin.
Snacks: Apple & cheese, or a banana.

I love this sample menu because there’s great variety in the type of meal I’m eating, but also a lot of cross-ingredient usage across meals. Swiss chard is used in the minestrone as well as sauteed chard. Chicken is used for grilling in Dinner 2 as well as in the chicken stew, so I’d only have to buy one package of chicken for the week. A lot of the veggies in the minestrone can also be used in the chicken stew. The spinach from dinner 2 is also on the breakfast sandwiches, as is the bacon from the chicken stew. This would be pretty cheap to buy ingredients for a full week of cooking!

Sample Week 2

Dinner 1: Spaghetti meat sauce served over spaghetti squash. Secret family recipe, no link! But this is a veggie-loaded sauce with a ground beef base.
Dinner 2: Seared salmon with veggies over coconut noodles (via Bev Cooks).
Breakfast all week: Veggie scramble with eggs, asparagus, mushrooms & peppers, served with salsa
Snacks: Yogurt with berries
Treat: Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Scotchie Cookies (via Averie Cooks)

Same concept here – some overlap between ingredients, and variety in the menu at the same time. Asparagus & mushrooms are used in Dinner 2 as well as breakfast; peppers from the spaghetti are used in breakfast. Spaghetti sauce is great because it freezes well and can be served over spaghetti squash or real noodles. And I threw in a treat this week because the rest of the meals are pretty darn healthy!

Singleton Menu Planning: A Well Stocked Pantry

Here’s part 1 about my basic approach to menu planning for one.

One of the most important things to cooking and eating healthy, thoughtful meals is keeping  my kitchen well-stocked at all times with all the basics that I need. That way, when I decide on a menu plan for the week, it’s only the out-of-the-ordinary fresh stuff or maybe a random pantry item that I need to buy. This makes shopping quicker and cheaper! As I go throughout the week, I keep a grocery list clipped to the fridge where I write down any pantry items that I’m running low on or need replacing, and then when I’m menu planning I add any fresh stuff to the list that I’ll need to pick up as well. Here’s how I stock my kitchen; adapt as you see fit for the stuff you actually use and cook most often.

I keep the ones I use the most right next to the stove for easy access: cooking oil/spray, salt & pepper.

Oils: Olive, canola, sesame and coconut
Vinegars: Balsamic, red wine, champagne, rice, apple cider
Kosher salt grinder
Pepper grinder
Dijon mustard
Soy sauce
Curry paste

By keeping this small collection of items on hand at all times, I nearly always find I’m able to whip up a quick batch of cookies or a simple bread or cake without even going shopping.

All purpose flour
Rolled oats
Sugar/sweeteners: White, brown, icing sugars; agave syrup
Extracts: Vanilla, almond
Baking soda
Baking powder
Coconut flakes
Various chocolate chips or squares: white, milk, semi-sweet, bittersweet, dark

Other Dry Goods:
I try to stock up and buy all this stuff when it’s on sale. I’ve also found with tea in particular, it’s nice to have created a “guest collection.” I keep a basket of various types of herbal, black, rooibos & green tea that I pull out and offer when I have company so people can choose  whatever they like. People always seem to think this is such a nice touch, and it is so easy!

Cereal – a couple of different varieties
Dry pasta – I always have a long and small kind on hand. Right now it’s fusilli & spaghetti.
Rices: Arborio, jasmine white, long grain brown
Green lentils
Popcorn kernels
A couple of types of crackers
Breadcrumbs – panko or other, for crusted fish or meat dishes
Granola (either homemade or Terra Breads variety)
Dry herbs & spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, basil, oregano, rosemary, cayenne, red chili flakes, curry powder, bay leaves, ginger, paprika, mustard powder, cumin.
Coffee beans – OBVIOUSLY!

Toast Condiments:
Honeys: liquid, unpasteurized “solid”
Peanut butter – I keep the shitty Kraft sweetened stuff in the cupboard for my toast, SORRY NOT SORRY. I also keep natural PB in the fridge for smoothies and making sauces
Marmite – this is how you can tell I have British blood!

Canned/Liquid Goods:
I keep very few canned/boxed goods on hand most of the time. I used to always keep canned fruits during their off-season, like mandarins, peaches and apricots, but I’ve started using frozen instead – they taste fresher. Here’s the short list of what I try to buy on sale and keep in the cupboard all the time:

Water chestnuts – love them in stir fries and spinach dip for crunch!
Good quality olives
Diced tomatoes
Beans: chickpeas, black beans
Chicken stock
Almond milk

I love having a couple of lemons or limes on hand for adding to impromptu salad dressings or sauces. I eat a lot of veggies but the list below are just the ones I keep on hand all the time, regardless of what I’m cooking that week. I make a veggie egg scramble for breakfast very often with zucchini, peppers and mushrooms so I keep those around all the time for that reason, and there’s enough veggies/fruit/cheese in the house all the time that if I have greens, I can always whip up a salad without going shopping. Greens and bananas are also great for smoothies, so I try to have them around all the time.

Basil plant
Lemon & lime – and if I don’t need the rind for whatever I’m making, sometimes I’ll zest the peel and put it in a ziploc in the freezer.
Veggies: zucchini, coloured peppers, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, mushrooms, salad greens
Assorted seasonal fruit
Head of garlic
Vanilla yogurt
Cheese: cheddar, goat & parmesan

Multigrain bread
Fruit for smoothies – always mixed berries, occasionally peaches or mango.
A couple of quick meals – frozen pizza or lasagne, leftovers
Oven fries (uncooked)

That’s it! With these items constantly available in my kitchen, I can always whip up a quick salad, smoothie, “stuff on bread” meal, or pasta dish without needing to go shopping, and it minimizes the extra ingredients I need to buy for a recipe. You should use this as a basic guide, but adapt as necessary to the things you tend to eat most. How can you use this to simplify your shopping? How would your pantry staples differ from mine?

Clean Eating: Meal Systems

Three weeks into January, and here’s what I’ve learned so far: some diet adjustments have been much easier than others, and the hard ones were not necessarily the ones that I thought they’d be. Not only that, but I’m not really cut out for 30 days straight of treating food like a colouring book where I have to stay within the lines and not make any mistakes or else DEATH BLOOD DOOM.

My expectation was that the most difficult cravings to overcome would be my morning coffee and sweets. Surprisingly, the coffee was the easiest adjustment. I eliminated it for the month because I load it with cream and sugar, and I’d sooner avoid it entirely than drink it without cream (I find that milk doesn’t cut the bitterness to a degree where I can enjoy the taste). I switched to tea with honey and a little 1% milk, and it turns out I care more about the ritual of a hot morning beverage than the flavour. So that was easy and I will probably stick to this change on a permanent basis, having coffee only occasionally. I have cheated on sweets and consumed some most days, but most of the time I’ve had just a small handful of chocolate chips as a post-dinner snack and that’s been plenty to satisfy the craving. I expected to crave sweets all day, every day! I’ve easily avoided cheese without particularly missing it as well.

What has been impossible to stick to was the rule about no grains until dinner. This was a lack of foresight on my part because I always eat leftovers for lunch at work. So if I had grains with my dinner? I’m having it for lunch too! I’ve just made peace with this for budgetary reasons. I’m not going to make separate lunch items, it’s too expensive to add extra meals to my weekly grocery list. I’ve also been craving non-sweet plain white carbs like nobody’s business. Last week I would have probably kicked a helpless puppy for a big ol’ plate of pasta. So I had one. Hey, it was to save the puppies!

But after allowing myself some small cheats like this, I’ve been happy to get back on the bandwagon. I’ve been able to create some systems around eating clean that have made it much easier for me because they’ve eliminated some tedious food planning. Here’s what has worked for me:

Breakfast: I eat the same thing every day. No sweets or grains, so that left veggies, eggs and meat. I make a veggie scramble every morning with 1 entire egg + 1 egg white, mushroom, zucchini, and bell pepper, with salsa on the side. Some days I’ll add in some ham or turkey. Lately I’ve been cooking up a couple of breakfast sausages on the side. I have this with one mug of black tea. If I really need a break from eggs every day, I’ll make a green smoothie.

Snacks: I have a list of go-to snacks and I pick two each time I go grocery shopping. Those will be my snacks for the week. Here’s the list I pick from:

  • Veggies and hummus or baba ghanoush
  • Banana
  • Ants on a log (remember these from when you were a kid?!): celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins
  • Apple slices dipped in nut butter
  • Rice crackers with antipasto (this breaks my rule with carbs for a snack so I haven’t actually gone for this one yet, but I think it’s ok after the month is up as a healthy snack)
  • Trail mix with nuts, seeds & dried fruit

Dinners/Lunches: As I mentioned, I make extra dinner when I cook and use the leftovers for lunches at work. I’ve created a Detox Pinterest board with lots of delicious and healthy meal ideas, and I pick 3 recipes to make each week, which tends to be enough to feed me for the entire week with leftovers and usually a meal or two at my parents’ or cooked by my roommate. I try to pick one meal each week that’s a soup and one that’s more… solid… for lack of a better term?! I also stock the fridge with salad fixings, veggies and roast chicken so I can throw together a quick salad or roast a veggie and serve with chicken if I don’t have time to cook. On the weekends I’ll use the chicken carcass to make homemade chicken stock, and then use that as a base for the soup the following week.

A few meals I’ve made recently that have been fabulous:

Spicy kale & sweet potato “stew”
Asian chicken lettuce wraps
Chicken and veggie coconut curry
Mushroom & barley detox soup
Lean beef chili loaded with veggies, served with avocado
Turkey meatballs in spicy tomato sauce over spaghetti squash
And I can’t wait to make this lentil soup with sausage, chard & garlic that Smitten Kitchen posted today!

What do you guys do to stay on track with a balanced diet and curb cravings? Got any new snack or dinner ideas for me?

Clean January

I usually manage to quit eating so much chocolate after Christmas, but as a general rule I’ve never had any serious success at a real diet overhaul as a New Year’s Resolution. I quit making those resolutions years ago. But for some reason, hearing Amy and Holly write about doing Whole 30 in January really put a bug in my brain this year and I decided to do a month of clean eating in January.

The idea behind the Whole 30 plan is a 30-day program is intended to be a “nutritional reset”. Briefly, on the Whole 30 plan, you may not eat any of the following for 30 days:

  • All grains including oats, rice, wheat, barley, millet, buckwheat, and corn. I find this overly restrictive and unhealthy.
  • All legumes including beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, and peanuts. I also find this overly restrictive and unhealthy.
  • All forms of sugar and sweeteners including honey, maple syrup and agave.
  • All forms of dairy with the exception of clarified butter (ghee)
  • Carrageenan, MSG, or any sulfites.
  • Any alcohol
  • White potatoes

I couldn’t quite get on board with all of this; it primarily seems concerning to eliminate all grains and legumes entirely. As well, I find eliminating all forms of sweetener to be overly restrictive. But the idea was still there to do a 30 day “cleanse” utilizing real, whole foods and so I decided to do a modified Whole 30. What I really want is to eliminate the foods that are actually a problem in my diet for long enough to stop craving them regularly, so that I can then reintroduce them on an occasional basis. So here’s what my plan looks like for the month:

  • No grains until dinner
  • No pasta, white rice, bread or “pastry” type desserts such as donuts, muffins, danishes, cake or pie
  • No white sugar or artificial sweeteners (i.e. Stevia, aspartame, Sweet ‘N Low). Natural sweeteners such as honey & agave are okay in small quantities for tea and salad dressings.
  • No dairy, with the exception of goat cheese, low fat milk, and small amounts of butter.
  • No coffee. One caffeinated tea on work mornings is ok.
  • No alcohol
  • No chocolate
  • Small amounts of oil okay for cooking and salad dressings
  • Lots of lean protein such as fish, poultry and eggs
  • As much fruit & vegetables as my little heart desires
  • Drink mostly water
  • Legumes, nuts, unsweetened dried fruit, and non-caffeinated tea all okay

I started on the first of the month by weighing myself to get a starting point. Here’s an embarrassing picture I never thought I’d post on the internet:

Starting weight. Image source: my own!

Starting weight. Image source: my own!

I’ve been struggling in a major way with my weight for the last two years. A lot of it is related to physical limitations with exercise due to my herniated disc, but a lot of it is also related to my diet. I’ve been hovering between 180-185 lbs for the last two years and have had very real trouble getting and staying under 180 lbs. I am determined to do it this month and never see that number again on the scale.

The biggest food items I struggle to eliminate usually are sweet baked goods, sugar in just about any form, cream in my coffee (heck I even named my blog after this one!), and cheese. Though I do love them, I don’t consume enough healthy complex grains and vegetables. So my personal 30 day clean eating plan directly addresses these specific food issues and will hopefully create some much healthier habits for me.

I’ve stuck to this regime with only 1 real slip-up this week: I made quickie butternut squash pasta the night I’d been planning to make chili, because my roommate had a date over and was watching a movie with him. My clattering of pots & pans while cooking up a storm would have been loud and distracting, and I would have felt like a jerk! So far I am down almost 2 full pounds in only 6 days. I’ve been more conscious of what I put into my body, more connected to my food, and more motivated to move my body. And the weirdest experience: I have had absolutely no trouble eliminating sugar, but I have had a recurring craving for wine, of all things! What the heck?! This is unprecedented! Watch Clean January transform me from having a wicked sweet tooth into a wino instead.

Blogging from the Heart: Finding my Niche

In an effort to re-focus on blogging and find some inspiration, I’ve been enrolled for the last few weeks in Susannah Conway‘s course, Blogging from the Heart, with about 100 or so other Internet lovelies. I’ve fallen a bit behind on the curriculum, but I’ve been saving all the lessons and am catching up on some serious blog work while taking a little “staycation” from work this week.

The course has been great in a number of ways so far. First of all, I decided that while I don’t have any particular interest in having a self-hosted blog again (that is for people more technologically-inclined than I!), I made the switch back to WordPress. I am not in love with this design template, but I do find it cleaner and somewhat easier to do what I want to do with WordPress than Blogger. So here’s my new home. I hope I can change up the design sometime in the not-too-distant future.

More importantly, I’ve been given some great food for thought in terms of what I want to write about, what type of reader I envision enjoying this blog, and what direction I want this to take. And I’ve found it! This is a personal blog, and will always have a personal narrative bent on the writing. But my interests, while varied and sometimes random, are generally always related to wellness in some way or another.

When I worked with a life coach back in 2010 briefly, she had me complete what she called a Wellness Wheel, that looked something like this:

Source: Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic

In each spoke of the wellness wheel, I had to rate how I was doing in that aspect of my life on a scale of 1 to 10. It was an interesting exercise, and moreover, I think it makes for a great way to tie in all my different interests to a central theme of my interest in wellness! I will create my own wheel with my own style of category names in the future, but generally I will be posting about career, finance, creativity, intellect, emotions, family, relationships, fitness, health, personal growth, fun, and recreation.

Stay tuned for more in these areas!

My "Balance" List

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to start addressing the parts of my life that need attention, to stop being so disappointed, to bring joy back into my life.

I am reminded of a Wheel of Life diagram where you rate on a scale of 1 to 10 your satisfaction in each of these areas of your life: Career, money, health/fitness, friends/family, significant other/romance/intimacy, personal growth/spirituality, fun/recreation, physical environment. At the moment, when I complete this exercise, I score the lowest in health/fitness, fun/recreation, and significant other/romance/intimacy. So I’ve thought about what I can do to improve how I feel about these aspects of my life.

Here is the list of things I’ve come up with to get things back on track:

  1. Create some systems around eating, cooking, and being healthy to make this easier to stick to.
  2. When I’m down or overwhelmed, I have a tendency toward the path of least resistance (i.e. cereal for dinner because it takes 30 seconds to make, letting laundry/cleaning/tidying/chores build up rather than addressing them as needed). So maybe I can jump-start a mindset of things being back on track by putting in the time and simply acting like things are on track. Take the time to prep food for healthy meals. Do one chore per day. I’ll be busy enough that I won’t have so much time to dwell on the negative!
  3. Date for fun for the next couple of months. FUN ONLY. Nothing serious. And in that vein…
  4. Join a singles social club. (Not a dating service! Just fun activities planned for members, all of whom are single).
  5. Take a culinary class with Dirty Apron Culinary School.
  6. Yoga, twice a week, every week. Exceptions only if my disc flares up and makes it impossible.
  7. Walks or moderate hikes. My goal is to do something active at least 4 times a week. Yoga above obviously counts towards this! Use my wall calendar at home to keep track of days when I’ve done this.
  8. Try some water sports in the summer. Go kayaking at Deep Cove. Take a paddleboarding or windsurfing lesson. See if you can get out on a boat.