Keep It Simple

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August 21, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness

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I was in the kitchen the other day, looking at recipes, trying to figure out what I was going to make so I had healthy food options in the fridge for lunch and dinner.  There are literally thousands of websites out there, magazines, and cookbooks with recipes to make, so much so that it can get overwhelming.  I had a hard time settling on a couple of recipes, and when I did, I realized that it was going to take me about 2 hours to make all of this food.  This whole eat clean and stay healthy had just turned into a daunting task.

The same can be said for workouts.  I’m always out there looking for the next cool exercise, or the fun new gym that is going to have something different to capture my interest.  I thumb through the exercise magazines, each one with ‘Ab Blasting Workouts’ or ‘Killer Glute Routines’.  I think I have a stack of pages pulled out from magazines with different workouts on them that I intend to try.  Add to that the workouts that I get from my RSS feed online, and then the ones that I see when I surf online, and it feels like I am buried under a mountain of workouts.

And that can be enough to stop you in your tracks, can’t it?  I mean, you don’t want to spend tons of time making elaborate healthy recipes, and you don’t want to constantly find the next new workout, and when all of that gets the best of you, you decide that it is just too much effort and you give up.  I get it.  I work from home and I have flexible hours, and even for me, I have my days when it seems like a lot of rigmarole just to get the gym time in and the food made.

So what do you do?

I say, keep it simple.

For those days when you don’t want to make a fancy, special recipe, or for when you just don’t have the time to do so, go basic: protein, spices, salt, vegetable.  Cook up some chicken (or lean pork, or lean beef), season with what you like best, throw on some hot sauce for spice, and boom, done.  Take your veggies, whatever veggies you like, and put them on a roasting pan, spice it up, and then into the oven it goes.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.   Add a healthy starch: brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, and you are done and done.

Or what about salads?  You could have all the ingredients at your house to make a big salad.  And these days, everything comes practically prepared for you.  Get some spinach, then some of those little tomatoes, shredded carrots, chop an onion, and then you can toss on some pre-cooked chicken or a can of tuna in water and you are set with some low calorie dressing.  Heck, there is even salad in a bag, you could just add your protein to that.

Think about your parents’ generation, or your grandparents.  The 40s, 50s, 60s.  Simple times.  Eliminating the TV dinners and casseroles that were popular at the time (I am certainly not advocating going out and eating some beef stroganoff), the food was pretty basic.  Meat, potatoes, veggies, bread, maybe a salad, maybe.  Sure, they used more butter than you’d want to eat if you are trying to be healthy, but other than that, it was pretty darn simple, and fast.  When I think about recipes that are handed down from that generation, they were almost all for special events.  The day in and day out meals were never written down because they were SO SIMPLE that they didn’t need to be written down.  There is nothing, NOTHING, wrong with being simple and boring.

So you pull together your simple meal, and guess what?  You could make enough of that same meal so you can eat it for lunch for every day of the week.  I know, boring, who wants to eat the same thing over and over again?  Well guess what?  Studies have shown that eating the same meal actually helps in the overall weight loss process (you can Google lots of articles, I’ll share one here: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/why-eat-same-meal-every-day-135700390.html

Same thing goes for your workouts.  If going to different classes followed by different cardio and then different strength routines is too much for you to handle right now, go meat and potatoes on your workout so to speak.  Run every day, or spin every day, or zumba every day, whatever you enjoy, and whatever will get you to the gym.  If you need basic for a while, that’s fine.  Pick the routine you like and stick with it for a while.  For me, that’s running right now.  It makes me happy, and I can get excited about doing it every day.  I might mix up intensity or duration or distance, but it is the same thing every day.  I then do the same strength training routine every other day.  Eventually I’ll have to modify that if I want to build some muscle, but for now, it makes me happy.

When you get overwhelmed, make it simple.  Returning to the basics will get you through the times when you lack the motivation to cook or to exercise.  A comfortable go to routine will sustain you until you are ready to spice it up again.

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