1-219-765-8600

carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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June 22, 2022

Bananas, Ice Cream, and Goody…Remembering Sophie

July 28, 2006, was the day our family adopted Sophie Slager, or put another way, the day she became the little princess of our household. Part Cocker

June 16, 2022

Easy Ideas for Dad’s Day Dinner

Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the dads in my blog audience! In your honor, I’m sharing a few ideas to accompany those steaks on the grill, or

June 9, 2022

The Clean Fifteen and a 5-Minute Habit

Last week I covered the Dirty Dozen— the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 12 recommended fruits and vegetables that should be organic whenever

June 2, 2022

In Celebration of June and the Dirty Dozen

With the arrival of June comes Indiana strawberries. It’s also the month to continue planting your vegetables, flowers, and enjoying life. Some fun,

May 26, 2022

Guess What I Caught Mr. Non-Compliant Eating

About a week ago, I walked into the kitchen and saw Mr. Non-Compliant (my dear hubby) eating breakfast. Up-close inspection revealed that he had a bow

May 19, 2022

Treat Your Taste Buds to This Simple Green Salad

As warmer days make their appearance, we tend to trade our hearty soup recipes in for light, bursting-with-flavor salads. By increasing fruit and vege

May 12, 2022

Six Tips to Make Gardening Easy and Fun

Depending on where you live, it may be time to plant a garden. We are now frost free in Northwest Indiana. Allegedly. We’ll see… The rule of green

May 4, 2022

What the Heck Do I Eat?

With all the conflicting information on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to eat it, this is what I know for sure. Foods that are healthy for you

April 28, 2022

What to Do When Your Healthy Habits Go by the Wayside

It happens. To everyone. You do well week after week. You have a regular exercise program, a meal and snack plan that provides good energy and sleep,

April 21, 2022

Dirt is Good

Last week I wrote about Forest Bathing—immersing yourself in nature and using all your senses to benefit your health in every way. This week, I’m

A Little Secret

This may come as quite a shocker.

People in the health and fitness industry sometimes fall off the health and fitness wagon.

Yep, it happens.

Some “fall-offs” I’ve recently learned about:

  • Several fitness instructors found themselves overindulging in wine during the Covid lockdown.
  • Another fitness guru stopped teaching yoga and working out (Covid related) and is having a really tough time getting back in the groove.
  • And yet another trainer/coach ravenously eats whatever is in the fridge when playing video games at night.
  • Oh, and one more. You’ll love this: mindless snacking on chips and sweets.  

Can you relate with any of these? Are you surprised?

We KNOW BETTER! We help others overcome challenges, and yet…

…we all have our struggles.

I’ve admitted to occasional emotional ice cream eating.

None of us are perfect, yet we think others have it all together all the time.

They don’t. Not even the health and fitness professionals.

As you practice living your desired life, remember that one key element to creating good habits and having them stick is doing them most of the time. 100% is an ideal that will ultimately bring you down.

The 100% thinking can do you a real disservice. One missed session at the gym or overindulgence of pizza will make you feel bad. Get over it and move on. Most of the time is a winning option.

So, what are those fitness folks doing to get back on track?

One solution is to change the environmental cues that trigger a certain behavior.

The video game player is rearranging the fridge so the first thing he sees is cut up veggies or fruit. This puts distance between him and more enticing foods that are better for daytime.

The chip and sweet eater knows that having those foods in the house is a BAD idea. Replacing them with healthier options that she can grab when the munchies strike is key to creating a habit that makes her feel good.

The wine people didn’t like how they felt, so that was the impetus to discontinue the nightly habit. Also, getting out of the house was the distraction that changed the environment.

The yoga teacher has scheduled workouts in her calendar, so it looks hopeful.  

Whatever it is you’d like to work on, begin by making a plan that’s EASY so that you set yourself up for success.

Small daily wins add up to a life of a champion.

FUN OFFER: I sometimes do Zoom kitchen coaching sessions. In the past we’ve made tomato pie and baked a cake. What would YOU like to make during a future session? Send me an email with your idea and I’ll gift you with a 50-minute coaching call to help set you up for success around ONE habit you’d like to change.

Cheers to you,
Carol

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”—James Clear, “Atomic Habits”

Pumpkins, Apples, and Pears, Oh My

Welcome to fall and an abundance of pumpkins, apples, and pears. These are just a few favorites that enjoy a big debut this time of year.

The Great Pumpkin
Pumpkin is packed with fiber and a multitude of nutrients that benefit your health—and no, I’m not referring to the lattés that are loaded with calories and sugar. Sorry.

Pumpkin purée can obviously be made from a pumpkin; however, I prefer to buy the canned variety because it’s much easier. The only ingredient in it is PUMPKIN. Be sure to check the label if you pick the easy route too.  

Some ways to incorporate pumpkin purée into your life:

  • Add a couple tablespoons to your protein smoothie. Freeze the remainder of the canned purée in separate baggies to toss in when you have a hankering.
  • Stir a few spoonfuls into your warm oatmeal in the morning.
  • Blend it into just about any creamy vegetable soup for added fall flavor.
  • Mix with equal parts ricotta. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with pasta.
  • Bake something pumpkinny. Mix up your favorite pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake without a crust. Try pumpkin bread, muffins, cookies, anything.
  • Make pumpkin pancakes. (you can find this in my Recipe section under breakfasts)

The Incredible Apple
My favorite variety is the Honeycrisp. They taste just like their name. The best Honeycrisp apples you will eat are harvested September through November. They are typically more expensive than other varieties because they are hard to grow.

I’ve been adding these to my fall fruit salads, eating them with peanut butter or cheese, and all by themselves. The crunch is very satisfying when you get the urge to snack and have taken on the identity of a health conscious individual.

Apples are also a healthy food, so enjoy. Whenever possible, choose organic apples, as conventional apples are highly likely to be contaminated with pesticides.  

Pears: The Other Fall Fruit
While apples take center stage, don’t forget about the supporting role of the pear. This is their big season too. I believe that you can substitute pears for just about anything you can think of that calls for apples.

Allow pears to ripen at room temperature. They’re one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree. Therefore, they need time for the sugars to develop, which is why you may have to leave them on the counter for a few days once you get home.

A pear is ripe when the area around the stem gives a little with a gentle squeeze. Then store in the refrigerator and consume within 3-5 days for best quality.

Like the apple, organic is best. The pear is a nutritional powerhouse and excellent source of fiber.

Pears are a great addition to a mixed green salad with blue or goat cheese, and candied (or plain) pecans. Toss with a homemade balsamic dressing, or other favorite.

With options like these, it’s easy to debunk the myth that eating nutrient-dense food is boring.

Bon Appétit,
Carol

“If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry.”—Michael Pollan

Creating Space…in Your Refrigerator, Freezer, Life

Lately I’ve noticed that I have the need for more space—physically, mentally, digitally, and when it comes to my schedule.

And no, I do not want a larger house.

Recalling last week’s blog, I mentioned that our lives change when our habits change.

The simplest way to change who we are, is to change what we do. The behaviors we choose to do day in and day out, reinforce our identity.   

Rather than focusing on the habit, try focusing on the type of person you’re looking to become.

I’m taking on the identity of a space creator. As I create space, I have more free time to do what I love in surroundings that bring me peace and contentment. How lovely.

Living into this ideal is a better process than telling myself that I’ll make the time to clean out the refrigerator or figure out what “To Do’s” I must include in my day. That thinking doesn’t sit well with me, nor has it worked in the past.

I need a fresh perspective. I prefer to think of myself as a space creator.

In order to be successful, I also need a system.

My system looks like this:

I have a block of time in the morning, anywhere from 15-30 minutes, that I typically fritter away. I don’t even know what happens, except that I don’t accomplish anything measurable.

My ONE habit I’m implementing is to spend that small block of time CREATING SPACE, because that’s what space creators do. I know that I must do this in the morning, or it won’t happen. Immediately after breakfast is a good time to add it to my routine. I ALWAYS eat breakfast, so the success rate is high.

The commitment to spend 15-30 minutes feels right for this habit. The fun part is that I GET to CHOOSE where I create the space.

Yesterday I created space in the refrigerator. It was the day before garbage pickup day, so it was perfect. I spent about 30 minutes dumping out all those pesky little containers that were left from the early Covid days of carrying in some meals.

Those little containers went, along with some other ancient items that looked like a science experiment. Scary.

I have SO MUCH SPACE now, that it makes putting together my grocery list a breeze. This is one way I create mental space. Less time thinking about what I have/need.  

Today I put some books that I am not currently using, and need to keep, in a banker’s box that is labelled with the contents. More desk space, less stuff to distract me, and I know where they are when I need them. What a concept.

It’s the small things we do each day that create our identity. This small thing suits me. On my near future hit list: the freezer and pantry. Even one shelf at a time is awesome!

When I feel the need for more mental space, I may simply sit and breathe.

FUN OFFER: Take a guess at what was in any container that I tossed out and send me an email. If you’re correct, I’ll gift you with a 50-minute coaching call and help you get clear around that ONE habit you’d like to take on in order to create your new identity. Hint: we ordered Italian, salads, and even breakfast!

Spaciously yours,
Carol

“When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.”
― James Clear, “Atomic Habits”

Standing in the Doorway of September

We’re standing in the doorway of September. Summer days still linger, yet autumn is inching its way into our lives—and wardrobes.

It’s one more variable we can add to our current list. (Don’t we have enough of them?)

When my oldest son was a senior in high school, I attended a meeting for parents at the beginning of the school year. He attended an all-boys school, so maybe the following sentiment isn’t true for girls.

What I learned from the speaker was that NO ONE, not the teachers, nor us parents, could stand to be around them at that point in their lives. They were in the doorway between adolescence and adulthood. What a revelation.

They had the desire to be out of the nest, yet they weren’t quite ready. It was a challenging time.

We’re standing in the doorway of September.

Some days I’m extremely focused and productive. There are other days when I just feel like taking a long nap. And there are the days somewhere in between. Can you relate?   

Here’s an idea to help with the transition. Practice the implementation of ONE new habit that will bring about a desirable change in your life.

Our lives change when our habits change. September is a great time for new beginnings—better than a New Year’s resolution.

Who are you becoming? What would that person do on a consistent basis?

Let’s say you’d like to get more exercise. Instead of focusing on getting more exercise, focus on living as a fit person.

What would a fit person do? A fit person makes exercise a regular habit and a priority.

Next, look at your calendar and write in the WHEN and the WHAT. Maybe it’s a 15-minute walk 3x a week to start. When that becomes a habit that you don’t need to think about, increase the time and/or frequency.

This same process works for ANYTHING that you have the desire to do. BE THAT PERSON TODAY by living differently and consistently.

This shift in your thinking will help ease the discomfort of standing in the doorway. Before you know it, you’ll be standing firmly in autumn leaves.

AND you’ll have a 4-month head start on all those folks who will WAIT to begin their new thing and be THAT person January 1, 2021.    

FUN OFFER: I harvested a batch of tomatoes from my garden this morning. Take a guess at what recipe I made with them and send me an email. If you’re correct, I’ll gift you with a 50-minute coaching call and help you get clear around that ONE habit you’d like to take on. Hint: I wrote a blog about it and did a Facebook live too!

Much love,
Carol

“Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement.” ― James Clear, “Atomic Habits”