Especially when trying to get healthy.
Weekly meal-plans or at least dinner plans help you get more organized and stick to a menu vs. opting for something unhealthier (pizza, take out etc.) in the moment.
Exercise / running plans not only help to make sure you get all of your workouts in in a week, they also make sure that you are increasing your endurance on a consistent basis.
Longer-term plans are great because they can help you stay focused on a particular goal, and make you less likely to skip workout days.
When I started this quest to get healthy and start running in July - one of my longer-term plans was to run a 5K in October (actually this weekend!). I was well on my way, completing the Couch-to-5K plan in early September and running 3 miles every other day in my last couple weeks of running. The problem with plans is that they can't always hold true with reality.... as you can't control everything (no matter how hard you try!).
I've injured my right leg. I have a bad shin splint and a medial gastroc. strain. Long story: more time off of everything except swimming, 4 weeks of physical therapy. Short story: no race Sunday.
Am I disappointed... VERY! Am I discouraged...NO! I am not loosing nor going to lose confidence or enthusiasm.
Running has given me SO much in such a short time frame including:
-Confidence / Not caring what other people think
-The urge to be more active in general
-Greater appreciation of nature
-Help to lose over 20 lbs. since July
-Reduced Stress & Anxiety
(look... don't I look happy in this picture from this weekend... :)
Am I ever going to give it up... no way! I'm hooked!
The truth is...plans are still important - sometimes they just have to change a little. My plan is still to run a 5K, but now I'm running one on Thanksgiving. I am going to start swimming to keep my endurance up and start strength training my arms.
That's my revised plan. And it's a good one.
SONG THAT KEPT ME (THINKING ABOUT) RUNNING THIS WEEK: "Animal", Neon Trees
RANDOM TIP OF THE WEEK: Eating small amounts of certain nuts (almonds, pistachios and walnuts) can lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and your risk for heart disease. They help improve lipid levels and circulation. Make sure to get the raw, unsalted versions and since they are so tasty... I recommend measuring them out (so you don't overdo it).
I was inspired to have a "soup-a-thon" this weekend due to a bad cold virus... and the delicious cream of tomato TJ's soup I highlighted in last week's post. I am trying to not eat very many processed foods so I wanted that delicious, warm creamy soup feeling - but in a wholesome, and natural soup!
I turned to "The Best Light Recipe" cookbook from the famed America's Test Kitchen. They try a recipe sometime 30 different ways until they find the version that tastes best! I made healthy versions of Butternut Squash soup, Cream of Mushroom soup and Cream of Asparagus. All were delish but Cream of Asparagus was the best of the bunch! I highly recommend this cookbook if you like to cook more complicated recipes. It has a lot of great recipes that don't even seem "light"!
Here's the Cream of Asparagus recipe which as been adapted from the original America's Test Kitchen version.
-4 medium shallots
-3 garlic cloves pressed through a garlic press
-1 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup dry white wine
-1 bay leaf
-1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (organic if possible)
-1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
-1 1/2 pounds asparagus (1.5-2 bunches), woody ends removed and cut int 1/2 inch lengths
-1/2 cup half-and-half
-Ground black pepper, and salt.
First - Combine the onion, oil and 1/2 tsp of salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until softened about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Second - Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine and bay leaf; cook until the wine is absorbed, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add the broths. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce the heat to medium-low. and simmer until the broth is slightly thickened and no longer tastes of flour, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue to simmer, uncovered until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
Third - Puree the mixture in a blender (tip: do in batches, only fill blender half-way and use towel at top over lid)...until smooth, and return to a clean saucepan. Stir in the half-and-half and cook over low heat until just hot (do not boil), about 3 minutes. Season with alt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Per 1.5 cup serving:140 cal. 5 g fat. 6 g protein, 5 g. fiber... YUM!