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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Working with Style ... and Holiday Comforts!

First of all, I sincerely apologize for the truly crappy photo. But I took one, so I figured I'd share. I've also been meaning to show what my workwear actually looks like most of the day.

Witness: how a lab coat can make any outfit less stylish. (Even without the 30 year-old turkey lapel pin.)

Facts I love about this outfit:

1. Both my skirt & tights are by Motherhood. That is correct. Even though I am lucky enough to be back down to pre-pregnancy size, I still wear them. The tights because they don't have runs, and that is hard to come by in my sock drawer. The skirt because it is just darn cute - plus, most shirts are cut in a way that makes it unnoticable (even without the labcoat!)

2. The top is seriously part of a bridesmaid ensemble from 11.5 years ago. The lovely bride got us all these awesome pink tops, and we each wore the black skirt of our choice. (You'll see mine in a future post, no doubt.)

3. The shoes. They are adorable and comfortable. (The comfort is starting to fade as I wear them completely out.) - Sam & Libby, $24 at DSW a couple years ago.

Finally --- I love that I only wore it a few hours, because work was slow on the day before Thanksgiving! AND I love that I FINALLY got a haircut yesterday, so the next post you see will feature my newest accessory - bangs!

Welcome to the Holidaze Season! Joy to you all! :)
Don't forget the fun link-up at Liberating Working Moms.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

In my mission statement posts, I noted that I seek to find the joy in the small stuff. I thought Thanksgiving Eve would be a more than appropriate occasion to list out some of the small (& big) things that give me joy.
  • Family - (We'll start with the obvious biggie.) I have a fantastic husband, a wonderful daughter, and amazing parents. In a state far, far away (called Nebraska), I have more family, for who I am also grateful. 
Look at us. All on our honeymoon & stuff.

Look at her all small & unsuspecting. And do you know I really have grown to love her more EVERY dang day??

They SAY they moved to Florida for the beach. The beach was here all along. A certain granddaughter was not. ;)


More Family
  • My job - it's rewarding & not overly stressful. I have a true "work-life balance." I work with a great group of people. My immediate work group consists of some of my closest Florida friends, aside from being an inspiring collection of professionals. The group I work with inside the hospital offers me still more great friendships and still more hardworking colleagues. Oh, also - I have a job. I have a job in a hospital, which gives me a unique sense of gratitude for ...
  • My health - Oh, I'm sure we're all grateful for our health. It's part of the litany of things we say we're grateful for, right? I always said so. This is my 6th year working in a hospital. I'm amazed every day at my incredible fortune to be so healthy and to have healthy friends & family. Every day, I feel like I haven't quite learned the lesson adequately and resolve that I need to stay right where I am.
    • If it were only that though, it would be a morbid lesson, wouldn't it? I'm not dying, so I should be grateful. What's inspiring is how wonderful many of the people are. The joy that patients and family can find - even in the worst of times. It's that lesson that I'm grateful for, and that I want to keep learning.
  • Technology - That family back in Nebraska? I am actually able to keep in pretty good contact with them. Oh, I suppose a hundred years ago, I would have written letters, or simply not moved to Florida. But the fact that I was able to pick up & move to this place where my life found me ... yet, still pick up the phone and talk to my Grandpa once a week - Amazing. Worth giving thanks for. In particular ...
  • Social Media - Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with old friends. In some cases, I've become better friends with someone online than I was in real life! Blogging & Twitter introduced me to a whole host of people (mostly women) with similar interests and concerns. I've made real connections with erstwhile total strangers.
    • Not to mention that I have friends back home that are even worth keeping in touch with, added to the fact that we DO keep in touch. That's worth saying thank you!
  • Gratitude - what? No, I mean it. I'm grateful that I'm grateful. I remember being a discontented teen. I remember not seeing the joy in small things and how wonderful life is. I'm not entirely sure where the credit lies for the change --- The sun shining nearly every day where I live now? Having found my life's love? Having become the mother to a wonderful child? Just having grown older?
  • Mistakes - I'm grateful that they've mostly been pretty harmless. The bigger ones of the past have not impeded my current happiness. The bumps here & there in the here & now tend to simply help me correct course.
There's more I give little thanks for every day. Today, I was thrilled to find my perfect K-cup (Tully's Kona Blend). I savored the pumpkin whoopie pie a work-pal brought in. I was delighted when my daughter started tapping the beat to La Grange when it came on the end of an NPR story. I was doubly delighted, when I told my husband the story; he found the song on YouTube, and we had a family dance party. I even took pleasure in exercising & listening to podcasts, then pre-prepping a few Thanksgiving dishes while listening to music.

There's big & small joy out there. Find your happy; follow it ... then don't forget to notice it!

 What do you see worth a little gratitude?

Happy Thanksgiving Day! And Happy Giving Thanks Daily!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Quick & The Read - Recipe Schmecipe

I love to cook. I love to cook healthy for myself & my family.

I don't always have as much time as I'd like. (Okay, yes, I might have more if I interwebbed less, but whatevs.) There are plenty of great shortcuts that allow you to put a (semi-)homemade meal on the table & still have time to do fun stuff like this:

... and still get through the shower before bedtime!

Two recent success stories for us:
  1. Spinach Tortellini with Peas & Pesto - That's right. Prepared tortelli (in this case, spinach pasta with ricotta filling), frozen peas, prepared pesto. We had it with Caesar salads, by which I mean - romaine lettuce from a bag + lite Caesar vinaigrette & Parmesan shavings. Munchkin's new thing is "more salad?" --- Enough to melt a dietitian mama's heart.
  2. Beef Stir-fry - I chopped an onion, sauteed it in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes, then added lean "stew meat" (the stuff pre-cut for you) and cooked till it was mostly done. Then I added a bag of pre-chopped stri-fry veggies. I poured over all that a "sauce" I'd made while the onion cooked (approx: 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 big squeezes honey), but you could certainly use a marinade or salad dressing. I served it over 90 second Uncle Ben's whole grain medley. This I actually took a second to photograph: 

No one said it was a good photograph.

Another thing about my cooking? I tend to take recipes as suggestions or inspirations, rather than strict instructions. If I don't have this, that or the other, I improvise. Here are 2 recipes I recently took great liberties with, either by choice or necessity.

  1. Roasted Butternut Squash over Farro by the Vintage Mixer - I saw the picture on Pinterest and thought it looked delicious. I read the title, decided I'd toss in some spinach & my own spice ideas. I further decided to use barley, because I had some & because I wanted to try ...
  2. Slow-cooker Barley Risotto by Dietitian on a Mission - In this case, I started cooking and realized I didn't have a number of things I thought I did. I knew I didn't have a shallot and used a third of so of an onion. I thought I had far more chicken stock than I really did --- I used extra water with plenty of salt. 
I smashed them together & it turned out GREAT! My hubben liked the whole thing. The Munchkin actually said yummy over some spinach & squash before deciding all she wanted in the world was "rice." I did sneak a few chickpeas in her little face too.

Take home messages:

  1. There are healthy short-cuts out there. Keep looking till you find ones that work for you. Then take variations on them to avoid "taste fatigue."
  2. Don't be afraid to experiment. What's the worst that will happen? No one will like it? You & they will either suck it up & eat it. Or you'll make PBJs or have chips'n'salsa or somesuch.
  3. Eating at least moderately well doesn't have to cost a fortune or exhaust you. It only requires a little thought on the front-end.
    • I made the following analogy to a patient today: I have a basket of clean laundry waiting to be put away. If I took the 15 minutes one evening to just do it, it would save me the 5 minutes every morning looking for socks (by which I meant underwear).
    • That basket is still waiting ....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Parenting: Journeys & Destinations - No Mompetition, please

"Life is a journey, not a destination."

Agreed, but when it comes to parenting, maybe it's the other way around. As in - the goal is a happy, healthy child with happy, healthy parents. How you get there is what works for your family.

I guess that's what I meant with my previous post about Babywise. I didn't so much mean it as an attack on the authors. More just an affirmation to myself & a suggestion to new parents. ---  Take the advice of books & friends; have a plan, but be flexible & confident ... Trust yourself a little.

In my early early days, I totally lacked flexibility & confidence. I didn't trust myself enough. I leaned on the books, whined on Facebook, and probably drove my husband nuts. A very wise friend & mom of two posted on one of my Facebook whines -- "She doesn't need a perfect mom, just a happy one." YES! Do what makes you happy, within reason, and it'll all work out. I didn't quite get it though till much later.

I finally internalized a better attitude when a workpal shared a little piece of wisdom, and it finally clicked. She said, and I paraphrase here - "You know what? She's not going to be sleeping with you when she's 12. She's not going to kindergarten in diapers. Kids do things in their own time. Enjoy it while it lasts." This from the mother of 8 and 12 year old boys. She rocked them each to sleep & soothed them through the night as needed. (Exactly what I wanted to do!) And they've both turned into well-adjusted little tweens.

What was funny about this exchange was that her response was to my reflexive apology for my daughter's ceasing to sleep through the night. She had asked how I was. I said "tired" and went on to say why. It seemed like conversations with co-workers too often went something like this:

  • "How are you?" 
  • "I'm fine how are you?"
  • "Great. How's your baby? Is she sleeping through the night?"
Then, the well-intentioned conversant would respond to my negatory with advice. Another book to read; another method to try. I always felt supported but also inadequate. It was likely a function more of my lack of confidence than judgement on their part. But I wonder --- Does mompetition start so early? Like - they don't have grades yet, so we measure them by whatever means available? I'm not entirely innocent of this myself. I have been known to unnecessarily drop little brags about my daughter into conversation.

Maybe we each have to take our journey at our own pace, and the wise words only work when we're ready to hear them. I actually DO think life IS a journey! I count mine as a success if I learn something from every experience & encounter.

Do you think there's anyway we can help each other out on our journeys? (As parents or otherwise?) Looking back on my life, there have been plenty of times that someone wonderful & loving (yes, my mom) has tried to help me not make a mistake. But I had to go ahead & make it myself!

Regardless, here's what I'm going to start trying, when I'm talking to newer parents ---
  • MORE simply telling my own experience.
  • LESS assuming it will be what works for someone else.
  • MORE listening.
  • LESS talking.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Working with Style V - Bohemian Rhapsody

    We had our office Thanksgiving luncheon this week. (I KNOW! It's seriously already time for that?!?!?!!? ... Yes.) For the occasion, I decided to wear something fun & festive. I also made an entirely delicious corn spoon pudding in my crockpot - IN the office breakroom. (It was a test run for Thanksgiving dinner at my house, and it made the cut - hands down!) So yeah - I was all kinds of awesome that day.

    It's actually a great photo. My face is just blurry in real life.

    When I put this on at home, I thought "I love this; it's Bohemian chic. BUT does it work outside my head?" I asked my hubben. He said it worked, and he's not a lying liar, so I went with it. I got a bunch of compliments on it. Including {drumroll} - "Ooh, I like that; it's Bohemian chic." My day - made.
    • Top - Merona, a recent Target trip - $17.
    • Skirt - Merona, Target a few years back off the clearance rack.
    • Boots - repeat appearance - cheapies from Rack Room. 
        • (Now that I finally got skinny jeans, I might be able to find a new pair!)
    • Accessories - matching jade ring & earrings - BUT the ring was a flea market find, while the earrings showed up years later at a department store --- kismet!

    You might think I would be a little embarrassed by how often I write "Target" as to the location of my purchases, but I am not. I don't even bother to pronounce it "Tarjay." I find good stuff there. The quality is adequate that by the time it starts to wear out, it's either out of style or I'm getting tired of it. The big danger of loving Target clothes so much is that I not infrequently go in for diapers & come out with a new outfit. (Of course, I sometimes see that as part of its awesome too!)


    I've been doing this FIVE weeks now! Do we have to stop ever? I'm having so much fun.
    If you care to join us, please link up with the adorable Katherine over at Liberating Working Moms.

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    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    No Shame in being in the 99

    There's plenty of discussion about why our wealth distribution is so uneven; whether we should change it; and how we could accomplish that.

    I would like to discuss why some people reject the very idea. Why do many want to refuse to admit being in the 99?

    Remember The Usual Suspects? "The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn't exist." Not quite that - but something along those lines --- the 1% has convinced the 99% that being in the 99% means you're a lazy no-good do-nothing.

    That's not what being the 99% means. It means a lot of things. It means as many things as it means to be an American. Or a Human.

    I'm not quite sure how to fix this misunderstanding. I think sharing our stories is a good start. I've really enjoyed the "I am the 99%" letters I've seen out there. The ones that seem to get the most attention are the really dire stories. That's understandable. Unfortunately, I think it plays into the perception that "I can't be part of the 99%! That's not like me!" There are many shades of gray between the saddest stories and the 1%.

    For example: there's me ---
    I have a good job, with great benefits.
    My husband also has a good job.
    We have a nice home, reliable vehicles, good health, and money left over to go out sometimes & take occasional trips.
    We live within our means, and we're very happy.
    I don't have it rough at all. I never did.
    I had good luck, AND I worked hard.

    Good luck and hard work are not mutually exclusive. Would I have worked hard enough to overcome bad luck? I'm always left without an answer to that question. My fear is - no.

    There are also shades of gray between the Occupy movements & class warfare. And EVEN more gray between what the present situation & socialism.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Working Mom Style - Black & Black ... + red

    Black & Black is the no brainer combination. I resort to it at least weekly. A wee-bit of texture & some colorful accessories keep it from being boring.

    • Cowl neck black sweater - Target, probs under $20 -- I love this top. It feels cozy, yet the 3/4 sleeves fit comfortably under the lab coat. Still, I desperately need some new fall/winter tops, or at least cardis!
    • Check-patterned black'n'grey pants - Target, Merona, ~$25 - I seriously LOVE their new line of dress pants. They look great & feel almost like jammies. I have 4 pairs!
    • Red Shoes - DSW years ago, Naturalizer, on clearance - A nice shot of red without the burden of the heels on "the shoes."
    • Red Earrings - I have no idea where. I have no idea when. I have no idea how much. I DO know that I always get compliments. They're a little heavy, so they only come out & play every once in awhile.

    Voila! Easy but not dull:

    You're jealous of my bathroom, right? Secret - I like to use the fancy public one out by the main entrance, rather than the barebones employee one back in the belly of the beast.

    Don't forget to link up or at least check out the other stylin' ladies over at Liberating Working Moms!

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    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    On Recovering from Babywise

    My daughter is only 19 months old. Already I'm so proud of her. She's smart, funny, kind, inquisitive, etc etc etc. We get compliments from friends, family & total strangers about her great disposition.

    When I was preparing to be a parent, this was my goal. I remember asking for advice on what book to read to prepare me to be the best possible parent. A few friends mentioned On Becoming Babywise. I read, and it clicked.

    Now I just want to laugh & laugh in the face of pregnant Angie - read a book to make you the best possible parent? (And yes - I did expect to be perfect.)

    Don't get me wrong: I do think there is great value in preparing to be a parent. I think the book gave me some an excellent base. I still believe that having a fairly strict routine early allowed my daughter to know what was coming next, develop confidence in her ability to go through the world, and ... to develop that lovely disposition.

    What I wish - is that I'd had a little more confidence in my own instincts early on. I guess that's impossible, right? The confidence I have now is a result of having a been a parent for over a year and a half. I still question myself, of course. One of my biggest questions is whether some of what I do now is a just plain silly thumbing-my-nose at the Babywise guys. Like they give a crap if I rock my baby to sleep.

    Here's the thing. I "did Babywise" 100% for the first 8 months. It worked like a dream. I felt vindicated; all those people who'd chuckled that parenthood was harder than a book could ever let on  - ha! Then guess what: we went on vacation. (This was Christmas last year.) Who wants to do cry-it-out on vacation? When we got back, we had to start from square one on the sleep training thing. It sucked. It was emotionally draining. It was like every time there was a little bump, we were going to have to do it all again?

    I bought Toddlerwise, figuring I needed  a refresher. That is where I lost all love for the Wise guys. There is some line in there about "If you occasionally have to leave your child with another person, a little change in their schedule shouldn't throw them off completely." I literally threw the book across the lactation room. (Yes, I was pumping at the time.) If your book was patently NOT intended for working moms, that's something that would have been nice to know A YEAR AGO!

    When the next bump came along, I think it was a tooth or a fever or who knows, I decided "Eff it." I started rocking her to sleep. I like it. Just like my mommy liked rocking me to sleep. Most of the time she either sleeps through the night or wakes up once & briefly. Occasionally we have a rough night. If it's really rough or there a couple in quick succession, I question ditching Babywise.

    But then in the morning, I still have my smart, funny, kind, inquisitive kid with her great disposition. And, me? I'm pretty resilient. And I have a cup of coffee.

    What I really wish I knew was how to put this into any sort of wisdom for a new parent! Anyone more eloquent or wise than I?

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Week in a Day, my Way

    Rachel Ray has this show - Week in a Day. About a year ago, I watched it a few times. Great concept - spend a few hours cooking one day, have meals for the whole week. I quit watching the show though, because - well, for one thing, there's only so many - "then you put the leftovers into mac'n'cheese" that I can handle.

    Still, it's a great concept. And one I've been meaning to incorporate into our routine. Well, last week, I finally did. It was so awesome, I did it again this week!

    Here are last week's meals:
    • Sunday: Stuffed Acorn Squash
    • Monday: Pumpkin Chili + cornbread muffins (Jiffy)
    • Tuesday: Hummus, Crudite & flatbread
    • Wednesday: Pumpkin Chili + garlic toast (Pepperidge Farms)
    • Thursday: Pasta Marinara (+ squash stuffing)
    • Friday: (Okay, fine we ordered a pizza.)

    Clearly, my Sunday cooking didn't quite feed us all week. We did snacks one night & delivery another, but the majority of our meals came from Sunday's efforts.

    Here's how I put it together:

    I halved & seeded the squash; olive oil + S&P - and put them in a 350 oven for about an hour. (A fork works much better for seeding than a spoon, btw.)
    I started the chili while the squash baked. It looks gross now, but just wait. Essentially, you can take your favorite basic chili recipe & replace a can of tomatoes with a can of pack pumpkin. I like the look of black beans with the slight orange tint. Also, it was Halloween, so I felt like I should have black - the other beans are dark red kidneys, pretty close to purple!

    While I was composing the chili, I was also cooking chicken. This was a compromise & a gamble. Although I'd purchased organic chicken breasts, I cooked them in a totally lame fashion - just a little EVOO + S&P -- and {gulp} in the microwave it went. It turned out fine! Really juicy even before it simmered with the chili for hours. I shredded it up & added it to the chili after I had the other ingredients mixed smoothly.


    Once the chili was all mixed together, I made the filling for the stuffed squash. I pulled the squash out of the oven & stuffed it. I topped it with a little shaved parmesan, set it under the broiler for a few minutes & voila!

    I must credit Aggie's Kitchen. Please see the link.
    My alterations: I use diced zucchini instead of mushrooms. I know that's quite different, but it tastes great, and mushrooms are not a hit with the hubben. I use fresh or frozen spinach instead of kale, as I just find it easier to work with. I use Italian breadcrumbs instead of panko, because I have it on hand. Finally, I omitted poultry seasoning & beef broth, because I forgot them!
    I made this a couple weeks ago & positively adored it. Munchkin doesn't seem to care for winter squash but DIGS the stuffing. It is a HUGE amount of veggies too!
    I used small "Golden Acorn" squash this time. I would recommend using the green ones. These were more bitter than the last time I made this recipe. 
    Pumpkin Chili
    1/2 large white or yellow onion, diced
    1 large tomato, chopped
    1/2 bunch green onions, diced
    1 can pack pumpkin
    1 (10-oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano & garlic
    1 (10-oz) can seasoned black beans (in their liquid)
    1 (10-oz) can dark red kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
    2 boneless, skinless chicken breast - cooked & shredded
    Saute the onions in a little olive oil. Add everything else. Simmer as long as you like. Serve it the next day for even more deliciousness!
    I like chili with some shredded cheese. This one tasted just great with it. I preffered the corn muffins with it, but the garlic toast was fantastic too.

    The whole process took me under 2 hours. It forced me to let my husband play with our Munchkin, whereas I usually hog her, but also allowed me to see them! Best of all, it nearly eliminated meal prep through the week. It was just lovely!

    My best tips to do this yourself:

    • Don't try 2 intensive recipes. Either pick 2 tried/true/easy or go with one sort of stretch + 1 go-to.
    • Try to choose at least some overlap ingredients. This allows you to multipurpose as you prep ingredients.
    • Find a day & time that work for you. It might be Wednesday night for all I know.
    • If you find dinner prep stressful, give this a couple tries. It might take you once or twice to get the hang of it. 
    Probably, like me, you sort of get the idea. However, like Rachel Ray, I'll be back with more menus in this vein. I hope you enjoy it! :)

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Working with Style - "Casual" Friday

    Okay, so officially, my office doesn't have casual Friday. But I always like to mix it up a little bit on Fridays. Fun Fridays? Funky Fridays? These boots were made for Fridays?
    Yes, now that Fall is here, often I like to pull out some boots on Fridays. 
    Case in point: 

    • Top: Marshall's - I believe it was from the juniors' section. I'm not ashamed. I got it a few years ago, and it's a favorite. It's also a sneaky way to show Husker pride pre-game day.
    • Corduroy skirt: Old Navy - I LOVE it. I don't know that it's technically business casual, but it works. It has an adorable diagonal stitch to it that I wish had shown better in the photo.
    • Boots: Rack Room Shoes - I don't actually like them very much. They're clearly fake leather, but I got them cheap and at the time figured I shouldn't spend much on boots since I wouldn't wear them much in Florida. Wrong-headed. I've been looking for new ones since. I can't find "the" pair. In the meantime, do know how many compliments these get? Maybe Floridians really don't know boots? ;)
    • Accessories: wooden circle dangle earrings from a beachy shop, bronze multi-loop bangle bracelet. I love to mix materials in my accessories. (But please notice the wooden button accents on the top!)

    PS - This was actually last Friday's outfit! Yesterday, I went to a special training, so I played it safe! :)
    Happy weekend.
    Want to share your "Working Mom Style"? Link up!

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    Healthier Her, Healthier Me

    You want your child to grow up healthy. You want to be healthier. Luckily, they go together like two peas in a pod, peanut butter & bananas ... or peanut butter & fingers!

    For me, I had gotten a little lazy. I seem to have an unnaturally high metabolism. Add to that, pregnancy & breastfeeding - I was pretty much eating whatever I wanted. But in the past 6 months, I had to start making an effort.

    Not because I started to gain weight back after breastfeeding was over. But because I didn't want to feed my daughter the crap I'd somehow ended up eating. Oh, I'm sure it still wasn't terrible relative to the SAD (standard American diet), but I wasn't proud of it, and I didn't want to model it for her.

    So, slowly but surely, I made changes. It's like how kids start behaving better when Christmas approaches - someone's watching, and there will be consequences.

    I'll admit I do still hit the frozen yogurt after she goes to bed (or - ahem - the clearance candy ... you can't see me while I'm writing this, right?) But even when she's not watching, I've started to actually crave fruits for snacks.

    We also go for walks at least a few times a week, play catch in the back yard, run around the house playing hide&go-seek --- what we're modeling there? --- activity can be fun play, not a chore to dread. I've also started to internalize that. I look forward to my little work-outs & have fun planning them.

    I think many parents get stuck trying for the own healthy habits because they think in terms of "kids' food" and "adult food." Kids ages 1-2 should drink whole milk instead of low-fat or non-fat --- that is the only thing different about healthy eating for them than for us. It's important to remember that their palettes are more sensitive so they may not like super spicy foods, but they don't have to eat chicken nuggets or mac'n'cheese all the time. You and they can eat the same healthy foods. Enjoy!

    So, the short & sweet of it is just this --- if you want a healthy child, model it - you'll get a healthy you. If you want a healthy you, strive for a healthy child. 

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Stop the Insanity! - A Simple Behavior Change Tip

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  - Albert Einstein

    Have you ever heard that quote? I didn't know it was an Einstein quote until just now, and perhaps it doesn't mean quite what I thought it did. No matter. I think it fits very well to the challenges of changing behaviors.

    Most of us know the behaviors we should change or want to change. We may know the behaviors we'd like to start in place or our old ones. It's the how to get from one to the other that causes such confusion. And insanity.

    Too often I hear how often a patient, acquaintance, or friend has tried to develop healthier habits or to lose weight - to start exercising more or eating less of this, that or the other.

    Very often a common theme emerges: insanity. In the Einstein way. They're trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    A few months ago, I wrote a post about getting my daughter to eat different fruits & vegetables. I said "Try, try again." I went on to explain how I tried different foods, or the same foods but in different ways.

    Occasionally, the same thing in the same way works on a different day. Sometimes not. If you've tried the same thing a few times and not succeeded, you're not a failure -- you need to try something new.

    I think a few examples will better illustrate than further explanation:

    • You drink regular sodas and want to cut them out. You try just drinking water. You miss soda, so you go back to drinking it. You try drinking diet soda but don't like how it tastes. How about trying the diet version of a soda you don't drink on a regular basis. I know a few people who couldn't switch from Coke to Diet Coke but could do Diet Dr. Pepper. Mountain Dew fans rarely like Diet Mountain Dew. Maybe you'd like Coke Zero?
    • You want to start exercising. Running seems to be straightforward; lots of people are doing it; maybe you even liked it when you were younger. (Yes, this is me.) But you start, and you. just. don't. like it. So - try a different activity. You don't have to do it in the morning or right after work or over your lunch hour. Try different times, different things.
    • You find out you have high blood pressure and need to cut back on sodium. You try not using the shaker at the table but everything tastes bland. You try the salt substitutes but the Mrs. Dash-types have the pizzazz you want, and the No Salt-types just doesn't taste right. Try using different herbs & spices in your cooking. Try different preparation techniques like roasting vegetables. Try something that's not trying to be salt - like balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
    "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." - Thomas Edison

    I thought that quote was Einstein. Shows what I know. Maybe it doesn't mean what I thought either.

    Bottom line: you don't have to be a genius to change your behavior. You just have to keep trying different things.