1-219-765-8600

carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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August 18, 2022

Mr. Non-Compliant vs. Mr. Corn

It’s that time of year when my dear cousin, Roger, aka Mr. Corn, and his wife Barb, come to Indiana for a visit. They now live in Florida, where swe

August 11, 2022

An Herb that Helps Reduce Anxiety, Induce Sleep, and More

I find it fascinating when one single food, or in this case, an herb, can contribute so much to our health. Cilantro is one such herb. While it’s no

August 4, 2022

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day may inspire some baking… While preparations have begun for those going back to school, there’s still lots of su

July 28, 2022

A Summer Meal with a Kick

While many of us would like to add more vegetables to our diet, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas. Discovering main dishes that are vege

July 27, 2022

Spicy Mushroom Tacos

These vegan tacos have a kick, so if you’re not a fan of spicy foods, cut back on the cayenne or omit.  Serves 4 Ingredients 1 lb. mixed mushrooms

July 21, 2022

Are They Eggs or Just Eggs?

In an effort to help those who are allergic or choose not to eat chicken eggs, this blog’s for you. And if you love chicken eggs, biscuits and gravy

July 13, 2022

Lipstick on a Pig

For any of my new blog followers, cauliflower is one of the few vegetables that I’m not fond of.  I’ve tried it all sorts of ways. Readers have s

July 13, 2022

Super Simple Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

After rinsing the head of cauliflower, cut it into florets, remove the thick stem portions, and slice it very thin. Arrange in a single layer on a sto

July 7, 2022

Vidalia Onions, Salsa, and Qigong

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s still possible to find Vidalia onions in local stores. I’m not sure how long they will last, so now is the tim

June 30, 2022

Navigating the Holiday Weekend Deliciously

Happy almost 4th of July weekend! The celebrations are about to begin. Parades, barbecues, picnics, watermelon, fireworks, adult beverages, and probab

Why 80% is an “A” on my Scale

When I was in school, an “A” was earned with a score of 90% to 100%. There wasn’t much room for error. When I practiced pharmacy, the range of error was even less, as you can imagine.

When it comes to eating in a way that serves you nutritionally, I like the 80% rule. It works like this: eat nutritionally sound foods at least 80% of the time. The other 20% is “room for error” or “cheat meals” or whatever term suits you. 

Reality check: life does not always allow us to carry out our perfect plan for fitness, food, and the way we think things ought to go. We have very little control. However, we can usually control our food choices and how much we move.

80% is realistic. The 80/20 rule allows for those special times with friends, holidays, birthdays and “because I had a tough day” days. 80% gets us past the ALL or NONE way of thinking, which only sets us up to fail miserably.

Here’s how it works: 80% of the time make sure you eat the proper amount of lean protein, vegetables, carbohydrates and good fats.

An easy way to know how much you need:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your veggie portions.                            
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

The recommendation is that women have one of each of those with most meals. For men, the recommendation is two of each with most meals. This guideline assumes you eat 4 times a day. Easy.

Let’s do the math. Eating 4 meals a day means 28 meals a week. So, following the 80/20 rule, if 22 or 23 of those meals are on target, you’ll most likely stay on track.

This takes into account Sunday brunch, the birthday celebration at work on Tuesday, “because it rained” on Wednesday (this person doesn’t live in Northwest Indiana where it has rained everyday for at least a week—that person blew it BIG time), pizza sounded really good on Friday night, and the hot dog at Home Depot called to you on Saturday.

I’ve had days when I never saw a vegetable and the carbohydrates ruled the plate. It happens. Life happens. Eat well most of the time and you’ll probably reach most of your health and fitness goals.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” –Charles M. Schulz

What’s Your Elephant?

I recently came across a movie starring Bill Murray (odds are good it’s a comedy—it was) and an elephant by the name of Vera. In a nutshell, it’s about a motivational speaker (Bill) who learns his circus clown father died and left him Vera. Since elephants aren’t like dogs when it comes to traveling, eating, sleeping, etc., Bill found himself in quite a quandary. The movie tells the story of how he and Vera managed their new partnership as they traveled across the country. 

Although I’ve never seen an elephant up-close and personal, I’ve seen some fascinating documentaries and think they have many traits similar to us. They’re pretty interesting looking, not to mention HUGE.

So, what is the elephant you’re facing today? What is the problem in the middle of the room that feels as big as Vera? Need some clues? It could be the one thing that is keeping you stuck and out of alignment with your health and fitness plan.

Maybe your elephant is:

  • Too many snacks in the house because your family “needs” them. 
  • Eating late at night.
  • Taking care of everyone else and not taking care of you.
  • Working too many hours.
  • Difficulty in planning meals.

Here’s the thing Bill discovered in the movie: the more he wanted to avoid Vera, the bigger she got. He couldn’t make her go away by eating, drinking, sleeping or running. He finally had to face the fact that he had an elephant and he had to deal with her.

Today, what if you could just whittle away a piece of your elephant? Is there one small thing you can do to make your Vera a bit less daunting?

Like:

  • Exchange one of those snacks in the house for something a bit healthier.
  • Figure out if your truly hungry, or simply bored, then make an adjustment.
  • Ask for help with one thing that you really don’t need to do.
  • Shave an hour off of one workday.
  • Plan one or two meals ahead of time for your busy week.

Don’t worry about the WHOLE elephant today, simply a piece of it. Face your Vera, make a plan, and take one small action!

“The very things that hold you down are going to life you up.”—Timothy Mouse from Dumbo

The movie: Larger Than Life

The “Fit Person” Ideal

So many times we have very lofty ideas about how certain people live their lives. We are on the outside looking in, and we usually make their story much better than it truly is. The fitness picture of those we admire, is no exception. 

When I think about a “fit person” and the habits that he/she practices, it looks something like this:

  • Regular gym time that is solid no matter what life is throwing their way
  • No cravings for ice cream, chocolate, or warm crusty bread accompanied with whipped butter
  • Typical restaurant fare is grilled fish with at least two vegetables, salad and not even a peek at the dessert menu
  • Breakfast probably doesn’t include brioche with a ribbon of chocolate, slathered with butter
  • Eating a huge bowl of rigatoni Bolognese doesn’t even sound appealing

Here is what I have learned: Even the folks I consider to be the most fit, do not follow those guidelines perfectly. We all have our secrets. Today, it’s time to name them and acknowledge their existence. I’ll even share mine, to make it easy for you to come clean.

Here goes:

  • I recently experienced a crazy day and my “reward” for surviving it was a bowl of ice cream. (Proud to say it was only ONE bowl.)
  • The warm crusty bread that appeared on the table at lunch today was accompanied by an herb butter spread—yes, it was AMAZING and I experienced great delight in every bite.
  • My dinner a couple weeks ago was a bowl of popcorn—not a speck of protein. Redeeming factor: I did pop it in coconut oil so I got some good fat.
  • The brioche with a ribbon of chocolate…a component of my Easter breakfast with the remainder eaten on Monday so it wouldn’t go bad
  • Every so often I go to H Dog with my husband, Mr. Non-Compliant, and eat a Chicago style hot dog instead of a salad.

Other “fit” people I know have a passion for donuts, red wine, Oreos and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Oh, and every once in a while, they are not in the mood to push the envelope during their workout. It happens. None of us are perfect.

It’s okay. We are in this game together, folks. This is a way of life that we practice and improve upon a little at a time. It is sustainable because we have real moments when we indulge in something that is “secret.” This is normal and in my opinion, it is occasionally necessary so we don’t go off the deep end one day and swear off every vegetable for the next decade.

So, the next time you feel like you blew your workout or went overboard with the chocolate cake, let it go. Acknowledge your “secret” and wipe the slate clean. You’re in good company.

“Fit is not a destination. It is a way of life. Because the journey IS the destination.”—Author unknown

Cupboard Clearing Confessions

Try saying that three times, really really fast. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

This week I have been clearing my cupboards. Funny, I didn’t think I had that much clearing to do. Then, it happened…I got into the Jell-O stash.

I have not purchased a box of Jell-O in years. In fact, I can’t even begin to guess how many years it’s been. Lots of them. So, imagine my surprise when I was clearing, and discovered eight boxes or so of the colored gelatin. There must have been a REAL deal on it at the time, since I stocked up. That was obviously before my conversion to healthier eating. I can only figure that’s the case because here is what else I uncovered in my food finds (please don’t judge):

  • Liquid food coloring
  • Edible silver glitter for decorating cupcakes
  • Dried pizza seasoning that didn’t smell like anything anymore
  • Very old peanut M&M’s (how did those ever get by me?)
  • Instant coffee–about 2 tablespoons left in a big clump
  • Red bean penne pasta (not that old but NO WAY is anyone in my home eating it—not even me!)
  • Pickled artichoke hearts that were “Best if Used By June 2008”
  • Powdered meringue (I couldn’t even begin to know why….)
  • Never opened cinnamon candy flavoring, to make those Cinnabon clones that never happened (probably saving me from a life of high cholesterol)
  • Lots of salt packets with BIG salt to sprinkle on those frozen pretzels you bake at home
  • A packet of dairy free pudding mix, most likely older than those artichokes

You get the idea. It has been entertaining, to say the least. As I wheeled my garbage bin to the curb, it was pretty heavy, so I guess I’m on the right track. What’s interesting is that I actually cleaned the cupboards out in the past couple years. Maybe I wasn’t paying close attention, or I really thought I needed eight boxes of Jell-O. Whatever the reason, I share this with you in case you need to do this little task and are afraid of what you might find. You might get a good chuckle from the experience. I’d love to hear what you unearth during your cupboard dig.

And, because many of us are preparing to celebrate Easter, family, spring, and life, here is my tip for the day: Enjoy every food you choose to eat slowly, and stop at 80% full—in other words, before you feel like you are going to explode. The eggs, ham, tenderloin and whatever else, tend to suddenly expand in your stomach to the point of sending you to the nearest couch for the afternoon. I know this from personal experience. Be extremely wise and save more for leftovers. You’ll thank me next week, when you have a few meals waiting for you.

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” – Julia Child