Question #1: How do you keep exercising and being healthy from being boring?
A friend of mine and I had the following text message conversation the other day. This portion is word for word translation from the text message.
Friend: "Ugh. Being healthy is soo boring. Got any advise on me feeling that way?"
Me: "Food wise?"
Friend: "Food, exercise. All that healthy crap."
Me: "It's different for everyone but what helps me is having a goal to work towards. Whether it's a half marathon or trying to lose a certain amount of pounds or trying to push my body to do something new."
Friend: "Yeah, but how do you get past how boring all that stuff is? Maybe it's just me since I never workout :("
I had a number of different things to say to that. To start, I felt like she was comparing herself to where I am today in terms of exercise and I told her that she shouldn't do that. My exercise routine right now is not the same as where I was a couple of years ago when I first started Weight Watchers and working out in general. A couple of years ago, I felt the same exact way. I hated going to the gym. I found it boring and it was a chore to do. This friend went from not working out at all to trying to do an every day exercise routine. Doing that is sure to burn you out and get you frustrated. When I started trying to be healthier, I was happy if I got myself to the gym 2-3 times a week. And I did not love it and I did not feel as committed to it as I do now. It definitely took a while for me to work up to where I am now. It IS a journey.
Second, I let her know to keep trying different things to find out what works for her. If you want working out to be a long term thing you have to find something that you enjoy. It will never last if you are forcing yourself to do something. You've got to keep trying until you find something you want to do. I now see fitness and working out as a part of my life. Yes, I originally started doing it to help me lose weight but I have continued with it because I enjoy it. I've gotten to a point where it isn't a chore, but something that makes me feel good.
I enjoy it because I experimented until I found what I like and what keeps me going. And it honestly took me a couple years to really figure that out.
I HATE the elliptical. Some people can get on that thing and elliptical away for an hour. I find that so boring and torturous. Even now, I still don't like it. I am also not one to be able to work out at home. I could never do it with videos or use weights/exercise on my own. I find that boring as well.
But what I do LOVE is going to classes. Whether it's boot camp or spin classes or Zumba or yoga. There is something about the "live" aspect of the class, the interaction with the other people in the class, the interaction with the teacher, etc. I love it. The "live" ness of it and interaction keeps it interesting and keeps me engaged. Having others in the class and an instructor who knows my name and can push me... That keeps me from getting bored.
It probably all ties back to your own personality type, and I am the type of person that I gather energy from other people. So classes and RACES are so energizing for me.
Also, what helps me keep from getting bored is challenging myself or working towards something. I have a hard time getting myself to just go out and run. I could never and have never run as much in my life as I am right now because I would get bored. Just going out and running every day? No thanks, boring.
But what's different and what makes it not boring now is that I am working towards something. I am pushing myself which makes it hard and exciting. I wasn't bored at all on my nine mile run this weekend. Not once in the hour and 36 minutes it took me to complete it. You know what? Because it was freaking hard as hell and my mind was occupied pushing my will power and convincing myself to keep going. No room for boredom up in here!
Her response: "I totally love all that you said. Thank you for that :)"
Question #2: How do you cook healthy sweet potatoes?
I got a text message from a friend in L.A. asking how I cook sweet potatoes. She said she'd been having a craving and knew that I eat these a lot. In fact, I think I've cooked them for her before and she wanted to know how I did it.
So, my favorite way to make sweet potatoes is to simply just bake them in the oven. I first scrub the potatoes with a potato brush to clean the skin. If you are opposed to eating the skin or think it's dirty or something, you can always peel it off, but I think it adds a nice crunch and texture. You do have to make sure it is clean though!
I then will either cut the potatoes into just small chunks... maybe nickel sized. Or I will cut them up so that they resemble small french fries. Then I will put all of the potatoes into a big Ziploc bag with a teaspoon or so of olive oil (depending on how much you are making) and some salt and pepper, then shake it all up so everything is evenly coated then dump it onto a baking sheet. I always put tinfoil on my baking sheets when I make this because I am lazy and don't feel like cleaning.
Another option that I do more often is to spray the baking sheet with some Pam Olive Oil spray, put the potatoes down, then spray the top of the potatoes again, salt and pepper them, and boom you're done.
The important thing that I want to do is coat all of the potatoes in oil, and use as little oil as possible. When you don't use oil, which I have forgotten to do before, the potatoes get dried out. I bake them in the oven at 450 degrees for about 20ish minutes. Halfway through while they are baking I pull the sheet out and toss the potatoes around a bit so they move around. Once they are done. You will have some lovely, delicious potatoes to eat!
Question #3: What do you think of those health Cadbury Egg recipes that are online right now?
No thanks, not for me. Some things I just don't have the desire to healthify and will fit into my diet as they are. To me, a Cadbury Egg is one of those. As well, Shamrock Shakes (I saw a bunch of "healthy" versions of this online a couple weeks ago, but I went for the real thing.) I find it more satisfying and enjoy looking forward to these things as "treats."
Also, I know myself well enough to know that it is dangerous for me to bake. I end up eating way too much crap in the baking process and keeping any leftovers in my apartment... chocolate chips, sprinkles, frosting, etc. is just impossible for me. It is smarter for me to go out and purchase a treat and really enjoy it then to buy and prepare a "healthier" version. I would be done for :)