Meal Prep Sunday

I started meal prepping about one and a half year ago. It was when I moved back to the Netherlands and my commute to work had changed. In Spain I used to walk ten minutes to work and had an hour lunch break, so I ate lunch at home. Suddenly I only had half an hour to eat and travelled almost an hour. My shortage of time forced my lunch routine to change too.

Of course I had the option to buy my lunch at work, but I decided not to do that. Why? Well it’s quite expensive in an office to buy lunch. It’s about six euro average in my office for something simple. The second reason is you don’t know how many additives are in your food. I figured it was better if (on most days) I would bring my own food.

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In the beginning I got back to a typical Dutch lunch. What is that? Well, bread with cheese for example. I also had some healthy snacks for the morning and afternoon but that was it. When I decided I wanted to get “fit” my diet needed an upgrade. I started cooking twice a day. Once for my dinner and then after dinner again for my lunch for the next day. But this wasn’t working either. Why? Too much cooking and too little time to relax.

When I started my meal-prepping journey I looked for inspiration online. I saw on YouTube and Instagram people also meal prepped, but first I didn’t know how to approach it. Like do I eat the same thing the whole week? Or do I make five different meals? Can I make one thing and just switch up the sauces? Luckily I have a smart and practical boyfriend and together we figured it out.

So what do we do? Well since I’m mainly a vegetarian (some days pescetarian) I actually eat a lot of veggies. I also really like them and it fits my “get fit” diet. Anyway we just buy a lot of different types, then chop them and put them in the oven for about 45 minutes. At the same time I prepare some tofu in a pan. Once it’s all done we divide it in five different glass jars. I usually add some hummus to some as a topping, avocado to others or another sauce if I feel like it.

As you can tell I’m still quite lazy with meal prepping. Every Sunday we follow this routine, but it’s often a mix of vegetables with tofu. When we have leftovers I use those and once in a while I look for new recipes or add something extra like wraps.

In the end meal prepping doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Since you’re the one adding all the ingredients you know exactly how healthy it is. You can also make it as expensive as you want. In case you’re meal prepping together, like I’m doing, it can be fun and used as bonding time as well.

Check out my Instagram for more pictures!

Relax and Unwind

For starters it’s good to get some mental rest and clarity. How can you do that? Do you remember those (video) games or any other machine with a reset button? When it’s overloaded, there is too much information and not working properly? So what did you do then, you hit the reset button. Magically it worked perfectly after doing that.

As people we obviously don’t have such a button. After all we’re not robots, but wouldn’t it be good if you can get rid of the excess information in your head? Start over and feeling all fresh and new. I think taking time off (from work) is like hitting the reset button. Especially when you’re going away and visit new places.

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I’ve had a few busy months at work. I work at an office with a computer all day long and at the end, right before my holidays, I ran out of fuel. I had processed too much information, worked long and intense hours and was tired. Very tired. And when I’m tired I’m also very emotional. So I really needed to hit that reset button. I could hardly bring myself to feel positive, when I’m always positive, which made me even more emotional. Luckily my trip to Turkey was already planned.

So there we went to Turkey and visit the grand city of Istanbul and a little town at the coast. It was my first time there so I had a lot of first impressions. Maybe because I received so much new information, the old (and excess) information was pushed away. I couldn’t think about anything else than what we’re doing at that moment. Living in the now and taking it all in. And of course taking a lot of pictures.

I didn’t realize it would work this way before going on vacation, but perhaps I never needed a break as much as I did now. Being away and seeing all the beauty of Turkey erased the stress and negativity I was feeling before. I was so happy to have that experience with my boyfriend. Side note it was our first vacation together. And as I wrote in the previous blog, snorkeling in the turquoise water made me feel so relaxed.

When did I know the reset button of going away had worked? When I was back home actually. During my holidays I also decided to change some things in my daily routine. For example not oblige myself to “have to do” everything in one day. I also decided not to say “yes” to all events, birthdays and activities. Simply because after work I need some more me-time to recharge.

So when we got back I knew what I was going to change. I felt so relaxed from the trip that luckily I felt positive again too. I still have to be careful not to run around in circles, but it’s a step in the right direction. Now when I wake up and start my day I’m looking forward to see what will happen. I’m re energized and it feels so good.

How to recharge yourself? Well even if you can’t go on a trip, you can enjoy some time off at home and do the same too. Relax in your backyard and read a book. Or try something new and open yourself up to a new experience. When it’s been a little too much we can hit that reset button in all different ways. My favorite though is on a tropical beach with sand between my feet. Just don’t forget to hold on to your newfound happiness when you’re back home.

Check out my Instagram for more pictures!

Gym Time: back for more

Well, I’m bringing a special person this time, my boyfriend. So, we will do it partly together and partly apart. Last Sunday was our first go at it. We did some weights and squats and I went off to do cardio. He went on with deadlifting. I honestly still don’t really understand what it means, but as long as he’s happy, I’m cool with it.

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And how did I feel after doing weights for the first time in months? I can tell you that how I move can’t be called walking anymore. It’s looks more like waddling. Colleagues even asked if I was ok, because it looked like I was in pain. And I was in pain! But.. the good kind. At least I know what I did is effecting my body.

So, now we need to keep going. My boyfriend said that I will need to kick his ass for at least the first two weeks. Apparently after that he will drag me to the gym. I guess we’ll have to see how it turns out. But since we’re committing to the gym together we can hold each other accountable.

Perhaps that is what we need sometimes. Someone that can motivate you when you’re feeling lazy or out of it. Someone to confront you with the promises you made to yourself. And someone to remind you of your goals. Of course you can have a heart to heart with the mirror, but you might not want to tell yourself to stop being a slacker. Therefore you should tell others about your goal so they can support you.

Another thing needed to reach your goal is a good plan. So the first step is to have a clear goal. Do you want to get fit or work on your endurance? Maybe even lose some weight? Be very specific in what you want to accomplish and even visualize it.

Once you have a clear goal the second step is to create your plan. How will you reach your goal? For example part of my plan is that I’m going running twice a week and going to the gym twice a week. Even better would be to pick specific days on when you want to do what. Write it in your calendar and you’ll feel more obliged to stick to your plans. But I’m still working on the details of my plan too. And remember to share your plan and goal with someone else.

Something that I personally find very important is to keep it all fun. Even though I make a plan and have a specific goal, it needs to be fun. That’s why exercising together on some days can make it more enjoyable. When I stop having fun at working out, my motivation dries out too. So whatever makes you laugh while doing squats, I would say, go for it. Enjoy!