Winter makes me not want to leave the house.
It makes me want to curl up in bed and argue with myself about going out for a walk. Or putting on four layers of clothing to go for a run. Or walking five blocks to the gym.
Sometimes. It even gives me second thoughts about going grocery shopping.
That's when I know things have gotten bad.
And yet, day after day. Week after week. I find myself lacing up my sneakers. Putting on four layers of running shirts. Telling my roommates that if I'm not back in two hours, they should probably do a sweep of Central Park. And heading out the door.
Given that our theme for this week's Eat.Live.Be. is "Baby, It's Cold Outside", I spent a fair portion of my 8 mile run on Saturday pondering how I inevitably get from Point A to Point B. Day after day. Week after week.
And what I came up with was a whole lot of disjointed and confused thoughts. Best presented in list format so that you can't really tell just how disjointed and confused they are. Here goes.
1. Good old Catholic guilt. It's not just for Catholics anymore. I know that if I don't go to the gym or go for a run, I will inevitably just sit on my butt all day. I will feel lazy. I will feel fat. I will feel like I have cheated myself of that happy, inspired, post-workout glow. And knowing just how much that guilt will ruin the rest of my day is enough to get me out the door. ASAP.
2. Endorphin rush. This is the positive spin on point 1 up there. Rather than thinking about how terrible I'll feel if I don't go, I also remind myself of how amazing I will feel if I do go. Whenever I come back from a run, I feel like I'm walking on air. You can ask my roommates - I'm like an entirely different person. You would think I had just gotten engaged. Or had the best sex of my life. (Neither of which, tragically, is anywhere close to coming true.) I feel so good about myself. I've heard it said that you never ever regret a workout and, in my experience, it's true. That feeling of accomplishment that I get at the end dominates any reticence I may have felt about heading out the door in the first place. Moral of the story - just do it.
3. Tell everyone you know. The day before I'm going to go for a long run, or if I'm going to go to an exercise class at the gym, I make sure everyone knows about it. About sixty times in the few hours preceding my workout, I tell my roommates what time I'm going to leave, where I'll be going, how far I'll be going or which class I'll be going to. The night before, all my friends know that I won't be drinking or going out until all hours of the night because I have a run to do. Oh, and I tweet about it. This holds me accountable. Once I put it out there, it's done. I'm doing it. This way, when and if someone asks me, "Oh so how was your run?", I don't have to hang my head in embarrassment over the fact that I was just too damn lazy to leave my room.
4. Make a schedule. I go to the gym at approximately the same time. Every day. While this may make me seem boring. Predictable. Anal retentive. It also means that exercising has become as intrinsic a part of my daily routine as, say, brushing my teeth. You wouldn't think to not brush your teeth just because you had an exam the next day, right? Same goes for me and going to the gym. It is just something that I do. Every day. No matter what.
I hope you guys found this helpful, and if you have any other tips you'd like to share with how you manage to stay in shape or eat healthy even with the winter dragging you down, feel free to post about it and link up here, or write about it in the comments!
Next week we are going to be writing about our biggest challenges and how we are tackling them, so get thinking and stay tuned.
And feel free to check out the other Eat.Live.Be. blogs to see how they keep themselves motivated!
- Sarah Caron - www.sarahscucinabella.com
- Cate O’Malley - www.sweetnicks.com
- Maris Callahan - www.ingoodtasteblog.net
- Chris Arpante - www.melecotte.com
- Faith - www.clickblogappetit.com/
- Kristen - www.dineanddish.net
- Emily - http://andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com/
- Jenna - FireMom - http://stopdropandblog.com/
- Casey - http://www.thestarnesfam.com - e-mail
- Patsy - http://familyfriendsandfood.blogspot.com/
- Tri-Fit Mom - http://trifitmom.blogspot.com/
- Claire - http://cookiedoc.blogspot.com/
- Allison - http://sweetflours.blogspot.com/
- Jen - http://njepicurean.blogspot.com/
- Leslie - www.thehungryhousewife.com.
- Rivki Locker - http://www.healthyeatingforordinarypeople.com/
- Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook
- Jennifer Schulz - http://lick-a-plate.blogspot.com/
- Sarah Rogers - http://sarahssweetcreations.blogspot.com
- Denise and Lenny - http://www.chezus.com
Now for the food. I think we can all agree that summer produce makes us all want to eat better. The farmer's markets are filled with color and vibrancy. There are peppers, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini. It is a veritable rainbow of health and goodness.
Winter, on the other hand? Eh, not so much. Root veggies, while delicious, are not the prettiest things to look at. And so they just don't feel as inspirational. Which may or may not be why so many of us crave good old meat and potato dishes at this time of year. That's fine, of course, every once in a while. But you still need to get a little color into your plates.
One of my favorite ways to eat the rainbow during the winter months is to eat greens. Kale, swiss chard, collards - all of these are beautifully in season at the moment. Swiss chard happens to be my current favorite as it is a little less bitter than collards and a bit lighter than kale, which is why when I saw this recipe for pasta with ruby chard in one of my cookbooks, I knew that I was going to have to make it. Simple though it may seem, the red pepper flakes and the tart cranberries give it just enough spice and pizazz to make you want to keep eating it. And, you know. The ridiculously high amounts of vitamin A, along with the knowledge that you are doing something so ridiculously good for your body? They don't hurt either.
Pasta with Ruby Chard and Cranberries
Serves 4-6, adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking For Health
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 lb chunky-shaped whole grain pasta
3 bunches ruby or red swiss chard (1.5-2 lb)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When it comes to a rapid boil, ladle a few tbsp of it into a bowl. Add the dried cranberries and set aside to soak. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain.
2. While the water heats, rinse the chard and remove the bottom 1/2 inch of the stems. Discard. Cut the remaining stems crosswise into 1/2 inch slices and set aside. Chop the leaves. Set aside.
3. While the pasta cooks, warm the oil in a large soup pot on high heat. Add the chard stems and saute for a minute. Add the garlic and the chard leaves and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the chard is limp but the leaves are still bright green, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt. Add a sprinkling of black peper and red pepper flakes to taste.
4. Drain the soaked cranberries. Divide the pasta into serving bowls and top with the garlicky chard, plump hot cranberries, and toasted walnuts. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted by the lovely and wonderful Heather of Girlichef! And to the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop! And to Meatless Mondays hosted over at My Sweet and Savory!