I've been thinking a lot lately about
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For certain, there are people in the latest 9-week Challenge who've set the bar high in terms of goals they're working toward. Weight loss, better health, the ability to chase grandchildren, the confidence that comes when one decides to treat their body with care instead of reckless abandon
As a coach, I'm privileged to spend time reading and responding to some of the journals. They're incredibly personal, honest, and filled with life as it happens throughout the day.
“The meeting lasted longer than I thought. I was starving and without even thinking, grabbed a doughnut from the break room.”
“I met my best friend for coffee. I know caffeine isn't part of the eating plan this week.”
“It was my night to shuffle kids to events and missed a workout, shoot.”
Reading them is also a reminder of just how hard we can be on ourselves.
In my replies, there are always ideas and suggestions for things one can tweak in relation to food, water, habits, etc. Although the things I emphasize, above all else?
All of the day's successes, I encourage people to write them down every day in a notebook they can carry with them, o serve as gentle reminders
“You had a cup of coffee, and drank over a gallon of water today(!) Look, 8 hours of sleep(!) No official workout, and look at the number of steps on the Fitbit(!) You made the best choice under the circumstances(!) For today you were committed to being a better you(!)”
Of course, there's always life's catch-all
“Carry on soldier. Nothing to see here …”
I have to wonder as well
If there's ever a time of the year that we're encouraged to pick bits of ourselves apart, this is certainly it. More of this, less of that, and just how easy it is to get caught up in that spirit.
Lately, I've been purposing a mental step or three backward, discovering instead that it's far more refreshing to really see the landscape for what it is. Reminding myself that my center is instead found by living in the grace I've been given, and the forgiveness I've been granted.
To simply keep walking, one foot in front of the other, without constantly searching for a new route, as the world tells me I should. Certainly, it might offer a quicker arrival, although to a destination I never have intended to seek
I've also discovered that as I'm working to change something in my life, it always makes me feel better if I have things that are stable to balance it against. Quirks in my daily life, successes of my own, habits I've formed over the last few years
A few of mine?
Don't ever forget how hard it was to build a life you love. Never let anyone take it from you
Keep drinking all that water. You're doing great
You've worked hard at your career this past year. Be comfortable and proud of the recognition.
Your marriage is a huge priority. The work required is often out of your comfort zone, and you're doing your best. I love that about you.
Keep protecting yourself from influences that don't have your best interest in mind. Listen to your gut; it hasn't failed you yet
Last year you juggled a million things. Nice work. Remember it's ok to slow down a bit this year (if you want!)
Great job building and keeping a circle of incredible people around you
I can't help but think of a quote from Benjamin Franklin about his daily schedule. Certainly, it was busy, and it was purposed, with each day bookended by two simple phrases
“What good shall I do this day?” and “What good have I done today?”
An incredible reminder of where to set our focus and to celebrate all of our daily successes. No matter how big or small
Meatloaf is a wintertime comfort food if there ever was one, and although this recipe is vegan, it's sure to please vegetarians and omnivores as well. It's high in protein, flavorful, tender, and moist without being sticky. The best part?
The glaze. It reminds me of the version my Mom made when I was a kid, with a thick layer of ketchup on top. One could serve some extra sauce on the side, or double the amount and put a little extra on top. If you're a spice lover, a bit of chipotle pepper added to the glaze is a great combination of sweet and spice
We were surprised by just how filling it was, and the leftovers made for great sandwiches the next day
Glazed Lentil Walnut Loaf
- 1 cup uncooked du Puy lentils (or green lentils)
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
- 3 tbsp ground flax + ½ cup water
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ cups sweet onion, diced fine
- 1 cup celery, diced fine
- 1 cup grated carrot
- ⅓ cup peeled and grated sweet apple (use any variety as long as the apples are firm)
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ½ cup oat flour
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs (gluten-free if you’re avoiding gluten)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme (or ¾ tsp dried thyme)
- ¾ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional, depending on your heat preference)
- Balsamic Glaze
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp apple butter (or unsweetened applesauce)
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 325° F
- Rinse and strain the lentils, and put them in a pot, along with 3 cups of water (or vegetable broth). Bring to a boil and season with salt.
- Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 40-45 minutes, stirring frequently and adding water if needed.
- (The goal is to over-cook the lentils slightly. Mash lentils slightly with a spoon when ready)
- Toast walnuts at 325° F for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
- Increase oven temp to 350° F.
- Whisk ground flax with water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Season with salt.
- Add the diced celery, shredded carrot and apple, and raisins. Saute for about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into pan. Whisk glaze ingredients and then spread half on top of the loaf. Reserve the rest for a dipping sauce.
- Bake at 350° F for 40-50 minutes, uncovered. Edges will be lightly brown. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. I usually wait until the loaf is cool before slicing.