healthy hacks

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

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It’s an age old question…when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Little known fact about Chick 2:

When I was just a wee one, I wanted to be a mailman, or what we would now call a mail carrier.

At six years old in my childhood home, so many summer afternoons I would watch out the front window starting about 1:00.  The mail would arrive between 1:15 and 2:00.  I’d wait anxiously for the sound…when I heard the stop, start, stop, start of the mail truck, I’d walk down our hilly driveway to intercept our family’s haul.

I’d sift through the daily pile of JC Penneys catalogs, electric bills, and who knows what else and most days find nothing for me.  But once in a while, in amidst all the typewritten envelopes, there would be a piece with my name handwritten on the front. Like a lottery win!

To this day, I LOVE getting personal mail.   Opening a personal letter or card is one of my life’s greatest delights.  Who wouldn’t want to be the person that delivers those, I thought?  Everyone looks forward to seeing you every day and all the treasures you bring!

Life has changed a lot since then.  Not only do I realize that most mail isn’t that exciting, these days most of our communication comes through email, texts, snaps, messages and so on.  Although I’ve given up on the career ambition of delivering mail, I still send mail as often as I can.  In the age of texts and emails, a handwritten letter stands out even more.

Here’s today’s healthy hack for pandemic life: send letters!

In these days of isolation, most of us don’t see each other much, if at all.  We have a need for connection and some of us may have more time since we aren’t commuting, etc. So, I’m sending postcards, uplifting quotes, funny cards, and letters to people far and near.  Sure I still text, but when I want people to pause, when I want them to know they are special, I send it through the mail.

Words are one of the things I enjoy sharing, whether it’s my own words or a well chosen quote. I tried painting watercolors, but it’s just not my thing.  I do enjoy making art, so I added some little accents to cards.  I will keep sending these so, in with all the bills and catalogs and coupon flyers, the handwriting on an envelope can bring someone (or many someones) a smile.  In the end, I still want to be a person who delivers joy when I grow up.

So, unlike many other things today, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Add pandemics to that list in the US Postal Service’s unofficial motto. I’m grateful for these couriers of kindness.

Who can you reach out to in a different way today? Who needs a lift?

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fitness and nutrition, healthy hacks

Movement Snacks

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Life is changing quickly these days.

Many of the routines that I thrive on have been either somewhat or completely turned upside down by precautions due to the Coronavirus.

This week, my school district moved to online learning. But, employees in my position still had to come into the school building so I kept my usual schedule of getting up, going to CrossFit (with extra cleaning measures), then heading for work.  This wasn’t a huge deal, but I did notice that at work, I get up and move a whole lot less when students aren’t around.  My calorie activity tracker on my Apple Watch took much longer to reach my daily goal.  The reminder to stand up, which comes on the :50 of the hour if you’ve been sitting the first fifty minutes straight, went off several times during the days.  This never happens!  My job keeps me moving to help students, teach them, and walk throughout the building.

Time for a healthy hack!

So, I started incorporating “movement snacks” into my day.  I was doing inventory tasks in my library while the kids were gone, so every time I finished scanning a shelf, I did 10 hand release pushups.  It was great to break the monotony and get the blood pumping again.  And, it all adds to my goal of 2,020 hand release pushups in 2020!

Today, another change.  I’ll now work fully from home.  My gym is quite far from where I live. It’s much closer to where I work.  That, combined with concerns about health and money (in a family with a small business that will be deeply impacted by all this) means I’ll be at the gym far less frequently.  I do have some home gym equipment, plus I’m training for a triathlon as well.  I’ll be doing different types of workouts, but I plan to continue to wake up early and get moving most days.

I made it to a gym this morning with my daughter then came home to work. After day 1 online I can safely say I need to keep moving not just early but throughout the day to stay mentally and physically strong and fit.  I spent much of today sitting on my butt answering questions and reviewing work. I took a couple of short walks around the yard but I was still mostly sedentary.  I didn’t feel nearly as calm or energetic as I usually do after 8 hours of work…and the irony is that I burned a lot less physical energy!

Objects at rest tend to stay at rest. We all know the rule.

So, tomorrow I’ll get up and take my bike to the park.  It’s already loaded in my car. During work, I’ll experiment with a timer so I stop and move every half hour at least.  Maybe situps.  Maybe the mobility I desperately need to work on. Or the “power jumps” I need to practice to get closer to double unders. Maybe I’ll alternate.  Bite-sized bits of movement spread throughout the day. There are many ways to experiment and keep moving.

Even 10 at a time, everything helps.  How are you continuing to move in this time of change and disruption?

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healthy hacks

Hydration Challenge

We all know water is good for us.  I’ve heard a huge range of amounts we should drink.  Our body weight in ounces, half our body weight in ounces, a gallon a day, on and on.

I’ve come a long way since I was drinking 6 – 8 cans of Diet Coke a day and basically no water unless it came to the restaurant table before I ordered a Diet Coke.  But, upping my water is still a challenge.  The truth is, I get just plain bored with just plain water.

How to change water up and make it more interesting and drinkable?  For a long time, I was on the lemon water train.  Then I changed it up with lime. Both are refreshing but it didn’t take too long for me to tire of them.

I changed jobs about 18 months ago and one of my favorite things about my new school is infused water.  The flavors change each week.  Sometimes it is blueberry pineapple, sometimes cucumber mint, sometimes even a citrus blend of orange, lime, and lemon.  I started drinking 2 cups a day at the beginning and end of lunch.  Then, I decided to try to finish my coffee a little earlier so I could move on to water by 10:00 am.  Now I’m drinking three or four 16 ounce cups of infused water each day.

I’ve even gotten to the point where I infuse my first insulated tumbler of water at home in the morning that travels with me to work or the gym.  A chunk of pineapple and a few raspberries adds just enough flavor to make the water craveable. I don’t really crush anything, just throw it in there. I don’t eat a ton of fruit anymore, but I get a lot of flavor from these fruity infusions. The pop of color from the raspberries makes me smile, too.

When I get home at the end of the evening, I switch to sparkling unsweetened water.  I still love carbonation and it gives me enough of a change to keep drinking throughout the night.

Another little healthy hack from the 2 Chicks. What tricks have you used to increase the amount of water you drink?  Cheers from Chick 2!

 

healthy hacks

Refresh, Recharge, Repeat

​​This is my triple threat for 2020. How do I refresh, recharge and repeat?
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​​I set out with 10 massage sessions at a spa within a mega-gym. Said gym has a pool, hot tub, sauna, spa, healthy eating arena, and all the gym equipment you could ever want to use.
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​​If you pay for a service at the spa you are entitled to use of the facility for the day. I’m specifically not naming the mega-gym because I love this feature as I am a non-member. Now that $100 massage has a lot more value. I also bought a block of massages in volume thus lowering my cost to less than $80.
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​​I make sure to get in some cardio, get my deep tissue massage, head to the pool for a swim then into the sauna as many times as I can. Over and over again from cold to hot. It’s amazingly refreshing.
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​​This type of day is more of an active recovery session for me but it’s full of many benefits. If you have a facility near you that offers a similar option, take advantage!
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​​I will spread my 10 visits over the year to give me the right amount of recovery from massage that works within my budget and time constraints.
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​​In this scenario I unplug from technology as well for about 4 hours. It’s a great opportunity to recharge. Obviously this works for me. This is the repeat feature. Also if my investment is $80 for the massage but I spend four hours at the facility I am definitely getting my money’s worth.
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​​Just another healthy hack for you in 2020 from 2 Chicks and a Pen. Recovery is part of staying healthy. Me time to reset my mind is equally beneficial. Don’t forget to flip your recharge switch.

healthy hacks

Just Add Eggs

Another quick healthy hack for those interested. The “baggie” trick I learned from
my friend Milagros.

Toss things you need in a baggie and use later. For her it was marinara sauce that she didn’t want to add to a meal until it was ready. How clever. Then I thought hmmm… I’m going to incorporate that into my meal prepping.

Now I have three go-to baggies made every couple of days. 2 ounces of my meat of choice: steak, ham or sausage. Diced onion, pepper, zucchini and mushroom. Sometimes a mozzarella medallion to spice it up. Some fresh spinach.

When I am crunched for time in the mornings I toss the components of the baggie into the pan while I grab two eggs. When it’s time, I add the eggs and cook away.

No chopping, no deciding what to eat, no wasting precious time. This meal prep is simple when you do a few days at a time. You can add variety by changing up the meat or adding cheese or not.

I always add in Everything But the Bagel seasoning to give my breakfast some added flavor. Give it a try you won’t be disappointed.

I am always full and energized after this meal and it’s so easy to make and cleanup is a cinch. This is a also a great way to show your teens how to start the day off right with a good meal and a little pre planning.

Another healthy hack from 2 Chicks and a Pen. Helping you get healthy in 2020 and beyond one meal hack at a time.