I talk to myself. A lot. When I am cooking I will read directions and then talk myself through what I need to do. When I am writing this blog I am talking about how to spell words and listening for grammar mistakes. When I am lying in bed I talk to myself about my day or what I need to do the next day. Usually this talking occurs in my head. The one time I talk out loud to myself is during a work out. Saying things to myself like “I can do this” or “just one more set” helps me to stay focused and not give up. There is a lot of research (here, here and here are just a few articles) that shows if you think you are a strong, fit and confident woman you will not only get a work out in but you will also find it easier to push yourself harder.
My inner dialog starts as I am putting on my workout clothes. I start planning what I will be doing, whether it is going to be cardio, strength, yoga or a combination of any or all. Once I get going I am constantly telling myself, “I got this!” When I am running I pick a goal, such as getting to a certain corner or running for a certain amount of time. Every time my breathing starts getting tough or my legs feel like jello, I start saying “I got this!” and push through to my goal. When I am at the gym and on my third set of three and my arms are heavy and I just want to collapse, I say “I can do this!” and I get through the set. When I am doing yoga and the high lunge is starting to make my legs shake I say “I got this!” and focus on my breath and then it is over!
Basically, being positive will not only help you start exercising it will also help you push through a tough session. Other tips such as focusing on your goal for exercise (losing weight, building strength, participating in a competition, etc.), knowing what works to keep you going, (talking to yourself, blasting some music, counting down, etc.) or finding a workout partner for mutual support are also effective. Most importantly, though, you have to start with the confidence in knowing you’ve got this! Your body and mind will benefit. Also, the sense of accomplishment you will have will carry through to any other challenge you face each day.
So please don’t laugh too loudly when you see me at the gym or out on a run and I am muttering to myself. Give me a thumbs up and say “You got it!” Just be prepared for me to say the same to you!
Today is June 1st and I feel I should be posting a light recipe for summer. Instead it is 45 degrees and raining so I want comfort food! This recipe is a great compromise because it is warming yet light. I remember the first time I had Pasta e Fagioli. It was at a little bar in Webster that had the best food. It has long since closed but my love of this dish continues. As with so many pasta dishes you can make it your own by adding your favorite veggies and herbs. The name simply means pasta and beans, so as long as you have those two ingredients you have made the dish. We had this version for dinner tonight and it was delicious! The best part is you can make it all in one dish so clean up is easy. Don’t be fooled by the long ingredient list. You got it!
Pasta e Fagioli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped*
1 medium to large red, yellow OR orange pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced**
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced**
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced**
2 cups small soup pasta such as ditalini or small shells
1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth***
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
10 to 16 ounces fresh baby spinach OR 1 10-ounce bag frozen spinach
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
*I used the tops of a bunch of celery I had chopped for snacking.
**You can replace fresh herbs with 1 tablespoon of your favorite Italian seasoning blend or 1 teaspoon of each the oregano and thyme and 1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary.
***My favorite broth is one I make with miso. If you are from the Rochester area, Small World Bakery makes homemade miso from a variety of beans that are phenomenal! (The link only shows a couple, but they sell at least 5 different kinds at the Public Market). It is so easy to keep on hand and you can make as little or as much as you need rather than opening a box and wondering how you are going to use the leftovers. Generally I use one teaspoon to each cup of hot water but you can adjust according to your taste.