Books, Goals, Health, Meals

Overcoming a mental hurdle, books + a meal plan!

Mental hurdle: a busy gym

I love our local gym, but guess what? So do a lot of other people. And this makes me happy, because it’s locally owned by a couple (and the owners are super nice), AND our gym provides an AMAZING place for teens and pre-teens to hang out somewhere safe and healthy. Seriously, any time school is not in session, the gym is buzzing with adolescents working out, playing basketball, etc. It’s awesome.

It is also early January. Which means…. the (temporary) annual bump in gym attendance. Sorry to say it, but it’s true. There is always a noticeable influx of people in the first couple weeks of the year. And then it always seems to peter out and level off to “normal”.

Hey, I’m happy to see new people in the gym!! Good for them. Get after those goals.

But…. (whispering)…. I also don’t really like a busy gym.

I don’t mind the extra people, themselves- they’re all fine. I am thrilled to see the gym thriving, and so many people out being active!! Yay!

My issue with the busy is 100% that it’s just a hassle when it’s busy! I don’t enjoy having to wait for machines or having to reorganize the order of my exercises if the machine I want is occupied. It can also add extra time to my workout.

My leg days (even at a non-busy time) already stretch almost to the max the time I want to spend working out. I prefer 45-60 minutes- MAX.

My go-to time for the gym is sometime during workday hours, precisely because it is much less busy. I’ve found that 5-7 a.m.= busy. ~4-7:30 p.m.= busy. In between, it’s usually much lower key, assuming school is in session. However, depending on my workday, it’s not always possible to slip away for a gym break.

Historically, if I miss my daytime workout and the only time left to go is during “peak” hours, I have usually just skipped the gym, or done a home workout instead, using the busy gym as an excuse. Like, “Oh, I guess I can’t go now. It’s just TOO BUSY!”

But this week, it has happened twice that I couldn’t go during the day due to meetings, and Asher wanted to go with me…. at night. So, I went. During peak hours, in early January. And you know what?? It has been fine!! Yes, it’s a bit busier than I’d prefer, but it really hasn’t been that bad at all. I think I created this big obstacle in my head that was really quite unnecessary.

From now on, ANY TIME is fair game for gym time. 💪 (Even if I do have to park farther back in the parking lot. 😩)


I stopped at the library the other day to return a couple things, and I ended up browsing a bit. I came home with a stack of books…. as if I’m going to have time to read 5 books before they’re due, when I read a total of 15 books in all of 2022. 😆 HA. But oh well. It was still fun to pick some things out.

The Dalai Lama book and the How to Train a Wild Elephant were on some sort of display, and they are both pretty short and looked like nice inspirational reads for the new year. I’ve had The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell on my Want to Read list for ages, so, I grabbed it.
This Why We Get Fat book is one I somehow had on my list, which means someone told me about it. No idea who. I find most “diet” books to be pretty controversial and hard to make any real sense of (they all contradict each other!). But I have read some sort of diet/ nutrition related book in January the last couple of years and I am interested in that whole arena. So, we’ll see if I actually read it. And the sleep book seemed relevant to my stage of parenting teens!

Also currently reading (and enjoying!), as previously mentioned:

(for my work book club)

Meal Plan!

As mentioned in my goals list, I want to do more meal planning this year!!

So the other day, I sat down and surveyed my family. We badly needed groceries, so pretty much anything was fair game, since I needed to buy basically everything anyway. I also told the boys to think about one meal each that they could take charge of and cook- whatever they wanted.

Here’s our list! (For the next ~couple weeks. No assigned days.)

  • fettucine + chicken with Alfredo sauce and broccoli (Asher)
  • shrimp tacos + avocado + pico de gallo + black beans
  • meatloaf + corn + rice (Ivan’s request)
  • salmon with lemon + (side of some kind??)
  • breaded tilapia, zucchini + rice
  • ground turkey or beef with potatoes and pinto beans simmered in salsa verde
  • spaghetti + meat sauce + garlic bread + salad (Ethan)

Nothing too fancy, nothing that requires a recipe. I am hoping to eventually start filtering in some recipes from my “Want to Try” list in Pinterest!! But I decided to just basically ask the family this time and go with some tried and true favorites.

We don’t eat at home every day (especially on weekends), and there will definitely be leftovers built in or some random “fend for yourself” days. But I went grocery shopping last night and we now at least have everything we need for various meals, and I don’t have to think about it much anymore. 🙂

Quotes of the Day:

#1. Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

#2. Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for stocking up big time on groceries and staples yesterday, so hopefully the rest of our shopping trips this month will be lighter and quicker!

12 thoughts on “Overcoming a mental hurdle, books + a meal plan!”

  1. On the plus side, parking farther back at the gym = more steps. You’re accomplishing two goals at once! 😊

    I’ve never read that Gary Taubes book but I’ve read some articles by him and generally think his mindset is pretty spot on. If you do read it let me know if you think it’s worth my time. The most interesting food/diet book I’ve read lately is It Starts With Food by Melissa Hartwig (the Whole30 lady). It’s way better written and easier to follow than the actual Whole30 book, and really is only tangentially related to the Whole30 diet. If Gary Taubes doesn’t grab you and you’re still looking for a food/diet book I’d recommend that one.


    1. I will definitely let you know!! I’m glad to hear his articles are good at least. I know someone recommended the book to me (can’t remember who though), so I’m hopeful it is worthwhile. Will keep you posted! And I’ll have to check out the other one you said. I’ve never read the Whole 30 book (or tried the diet- pretty sure I’d fail at that immediately…lol) but I still enjoy that type of content.


  2. I remember those busy January days back when I was a member at the Y. I would only use the treadmills and I would get so annoyed when I would have to wait for a treadmill. You had to sign up and then people would go over their time slot and it would make me so mad!! I don’t miss those days! Now I have access to a gym at work but rarely use it. I would be gone far too long if I tried to work out in the middle of the day. But I want to start to go once/week at 3. Phil has access to a gym and goes nearly every day that he goes into the office, but obviously getting ready is way different for a guy. So he goes at 11, shower, gets lunch, and is not gone for all that long. And lots of guys in his office do this so he doesn’t stand out for being off the desk to workout. My office doesn’t really have that culture, though.

    Nice work on the meal planning! Getting suggestions from everyone is so helpful! I used to make the meal plans, grocery shop, and cook and it was mentally exhausting. Now Phil and I come up with meal ideas together, he shops, I make dinner. We have a binder of tried and true recipes so I will page through it for ideas. We usually plan 3 meals for the week. Phil buys lunch every day when he’s in the office and I have a salad for lunch every day w/ rotisserie chicken. Sadly the boys rarely eat what we eat, so we get several days of leftovers from the meals we make. We haven’t made a meal plan for next week yet, although I know we are for sure going to make picadillo which I *think* the boys will eat. At least Taco will. And Paul will eat the black beans and maybe the rice. Oh the joys of selective eaters.


    1. Oh, thanks! I like the romaine swap too- not a big fan of kale myself! Always feel free to pass recipes my way- I don’t always make them immediately but I love to have good options to explore when I want something new and healthy. Or not healthy, too. 🙂


  3. Ugh. The January People at the gym. The pandemic really taught me that I never want to go to a gym again and, like you, I’m always PLEASED when people are at the gym because that’s good for the gym and the people, but I just want it to be a random Tuesday in September when only the diehards are around. LOL. It’s a bit of cognitive dissonance.

    We meal plan with leftovers in mind. The chickpea curry we make (almost every week *huge sigh*) is six servings, so it lasts us for three nights. The first night takes forever, but the next two nights we just make some rice in the rice cooker and heat it up on the stove. If I had to cook a new meal every night, I would lose my mind, so kudos to you for even attempting to plan like that!


    1. Well, don’t be too impressed- these will be spread out over the new few weeks. In the meantime we will eat leftovers and/or branch of from any leftovers in between! It’s not like I’ll cook these 7 nights in a row, something different each day.


  4. I applaud your pushing through this gym hurdle because I am with you: an empty gym is best!

    Your meal planning list looks great and it’s awesome that the kids are helping out! I want to get my kiddo back into helping with dinners but right now she is so busy it almost seems mean to add something else. There is still time!


    1. Asher actually made himself chicken breast tonight! (Not form the meal plan). Husband and I had plans out with friends, and he wanted chicken instead of the frozen pizza I assumed they’d eat… he looked up a recipe online and made a homemade seasoning and then pan fried the chicken! I have to say, I’m impressed and rather hopeful. Do I have a future cook on my hands?! I wasn’t even home to help him!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate going to the gym when it’s busy! Back in the day when I used to go a lot, I often was stuck in that 5 pm slot (it was either go then or not go at all) and I had to wait for a treadmill. On top of that, there was a 5 pm spin class I liked and you actually had to go about an hour early and get an entry ticket for the class if you wanted to join, because if you showed up 15 mins early it would already be full! That was a pain, although it did force me to work out from 4 pm – 5 pm while I was waiting.

    Your menu plan looks great! I usually do a lot of soups and stews which basically make themselves and are great as leftovers. However I do end up eating the same thing probably about 3 – 5 times in a week, which is not an issue for me but I know some people are not really fans of.


  6. Oh yes, I remember the gym right after new years… it was always packed (!) and I love and hated it at the same time. LOL

    Good for you for making a meal plan and shopping accordingly. I think if you can get in a groove, it will become easier and make meal time much less stressful.


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