Here we are… Almost a month into the new year, which begs the question: Where are you in regard to your current fitness goals?
The good news is that wherever you happen to be, today is a new day and the only question you have to ask yourself is, “Where do you want to go from here?” Even if you haven’t accomplished everything you set out to do this month, beating yourself up, mentally, probably won’t help move you any closer to where you want to be. Instead, give yourself a mental hug and remind yourself why you want to achieve the goals that you want to achieve.
Too often we focus on what we’re giving up rather than what we’re gaining (pun intended). Living life on the “healthy side” offers so much more joy, so much more happiness and so much more choice. Don’t rob yourself of everything you have ahead of you. And if that means dragging your butt to the gym or turning down a second helping of pasta, do it. Because it’s worth it. Put those “horse blinders” on and stay focused on the reasons you want to lose weight and/or get healthier.
The stronger your positive mindset, the stronger your chances of actually reaching your goals. And those of you who are familiar with my story know that I know what I’m talking about. I once weighed in excess of 450 pounds. I would become out of breath just from talking on the phone. One day I decided “Enough was enough.” And that was after a million different attempts at getting on the healthy bandwagon. So no matter how many times you’ve tried before, no matter what’s transpired this month — today is a new day. And you, my friend, can accomplish anything you set out to accomplish.
Ready? Set? Go!
Photo Source: Pinterest
I love sharing my popular recipe for turkey chili at this time of year because it’s the perfect meal (lunch or dinner) to accompany winter weather. That being said, I usually make it during the summer months, too (it really is that good and that good for you). But let’s stick to one season at a time, shall we?
When people who meet me today find out I used to tip the scale at over 450 pounds, they want to know how I lost all the excess weight. Many are disappointed when I let them know I did it the old fashioned way (through diet and exercise) — as opposed to using a magic wand. But if I had to assign the ‘magic wand’ moniker to one of the tools I used to get healthy, it would be to this flavorful chunky turkey chili recipe, which is easy to make and freezes really well. This recipe also thaws and reheats (microwaves!) beautifully. So I always make a huge batch. Check it out:
Gregg’s Chunky Turkey Chili Recipe
Ingredients (in order of use)
5 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
3 White onions, peeled & chopped
2 (two) 7 oz. cans of diced green chilies (mild or hot – your choice)
3 tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped (can also used jarred, but without added oil)
4 tbsp. chili powder (more if you dare)
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (more if you dare)
2+ lbs. lowfat ground turkey
1 (one) 6 lb., 6 oz. can (or several cans that equal the same) of ready cut diced tomatoes (in their own juice, no added sodium if available)
4 large bell peppers, chopped
In a large pot (the bigger the better), add the olive oil and chopped onions. Cover and cook over medium heat for several minutes (until the onions begin to soften).
Next, add the garlic, chili powder and cumin. Mix it up and then add both cans (liquid and all) of the diced green chilies to the diced onion. Cook covered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Next, add the ground turkey — making sure to mix all of the meat into the mixture while keeping the turkey from “clumping” together (work to break it up into loose pieces/bits). Continue to cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (and de-clumping the turkey when necessary).
Once the turkey is cooked through, add the canned tomatoes and chopped bell peppers, mix thoroughly, then cover and cook on high heat until the contents reach a boil. As soon as you see that your mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to LOW and cook for about 20 minutes more so all the flavors mix together and blend to perfection.
Makes approximately 18 servings
Add a small green salad with carrot shavings and balsamic vinegar along with two to three multigrain crackers to create a complete meal.
After preparing this big batch of chili, I divide it into portion sizes (usually two per storage container) and then, after the containers cool off, stick them in the freezer. After a day or so of thawing (in the fridge) you can zap it in the microwave for a quick, delicious dinner anytime during the week. (You can even store single size portions and take the chili to work for an easy and delicious, microwavable lunch!)
It should be noted that this stuff is so good that you can even serve it to your friends who aren’t on a diet. (Trust me — they’ll never know they’re eating something super healthy.) I’ve even made a big batch of this recipe as a dip for parties and served it with multigrain chips along with light sour cream and cheese on the side.
I am completely enamored with singer and writer JJ Heller’s beautiful song, “This Year (Happy New Year)” and plan to make the song part of my daily ritual of reminding myself what’s important in life (and what’s not). Her lyrics are so simple, so pure and so freeing. I encourage everyone reading this to check out the song (below) and to really listen to the lyrics. It’s all about forgiving one’s self for whatever’s come before and embracing this moment for all that its worth. If that’s not a recipe for success, I don’t know what is!
Here we are again… At the beginning of a brand new year. The dawn of the many promises we make to ourselves — the same promises we sometimes end up breaking.
If you’re like me, breaking promises you’ve made to yourself is a typical scenario for the month of January (not to mention sometimes for the first Monday of every week as well). After a number of years of making — and breaking – promises to myself (like the promise that I was finallygoing to lose my excess weight), I found that not only was I tipping the scales at more than 450 pounds, but I had also developed a very unhealthy self-loathing. This is when I realized that perhaps the fewer promises (or resolutions) I made for the new year, the better.
Back in the day, when I was wearing (out) a 60-inch belt, I would spend most of December telling everyone (even strangers) what I planned to accomplish in the new year. Not only was I going to achieve world peace, I was also going to get skinny, be a better person, stop slouching, always pause to pet small animals and help every old lady I encountered cross the street (whether she wanted to cross the street or not).
But come New Year’s Day (often as early as 12:01 a.m.), when I realized that all of these giant goals I set for myself weren’t instantly attainable, I would start to work against them with reckless abandon — carton of fried orange chicken in one hand, bowl of ice cream in the other (and a silly straw leading from my lips to a can of diet soda for added emphasis). I felt like everyone was watching and judging me — especially since I had just spent so much time trumpeting the positive changes I was going to instantly make. So I would subconsciously do everything I could to overtly break said promises (aka goals or resolutions) in order to give people something to judge (true story!).
Then, one year, I approached the concept of goal setting and making resolutions a little differently. Sure, some of my goals were still lofty, but others were smaller and more easily attainable. Instead of giving up ice cream for the rest of my life, I decided to give it up after just one single meal (and see how that felt). Instead of committing to never eating junk food again, I opted to have more salads to balance the junk food out. And when it came to transforming myself into a supermodel, I decided that could happen instantly.Poof! I was a supermodel. Granted, I was a plus-sized one, but still…
To my surprise, this smaller, quieter way of goal setting actually began to work — mainly because I’d broken the cycle of guilt that I’d always set into play by telling anyone who’d listen all the goals I was going to accomplish at the beginning of each year. By keeping quiet, I didn’t feel compelled to check in with people (or worse, explain to them why a goal hadn’t yet been met). Without this cycle of shame, I found my goals actually had a chance to gain more traction.
And no, accomplishing these latest sets of goals wasn’t instant. Nor did changes take place overnight. In fact, one year I set out to lose all of my excess weight and began the month of January with fierce determination. Turns out, that month wasn’t going to be the kick start that I’d hoped it would be. But because I hadn’t shouted this goal from the highest mountain top, I didn’t carry around as much shame when not attaining the goal right away. This goal was between me and my psyche. And, to my surprise, this goal did start to gain momentum in March of that same year. By the following March (a year later), I had dropped more than 250 pounds of excess weight (in a sane and healthy fashion). And this healthier weight was attained through smaller, quieter goals — all approached one step (not to mention one breath) at a time.
So as you design your vision of what 2016 will hold for you, your life and your health, remember to take it slow, keep it simple and (perhaps) keep it quiet (between you and the universe). Much like that carton of fried orange chicken and the bowl of ice cream I mentioned earlier, sometimes less really is more.
This label represents the only diet plan you need throughout the holiday season. Relax. Revise. Enjoy (in moderation) — and be good to yourself, mentally. (And know that I wish you a very Happy Christmas, New Year and “all of the above.” Thank you so much for being part of the Just Stop Eating So Much family! Here’s to a great 2016 for us all!)