Jess Finds Balance

My journey to finding a healthy balance with eating, exercise, and life in general

The Power of the Positive September 21, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Food,Opinion — jessfindsbalance @ 8:54 pm
Tags: , ,

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve had a hard time adjusting to teaching 8th grade this year and miss my 6th grade buddies terribly. There are a lot of things I’m struggling with, especially since I was just so happy with my job for the last two years. Instead of dwelling on all the things that aren’t going well, though, I’ve been focusing on the things that are going well: I have a great team of kids that I work with every day and there are some really nice teachers in the 8th grade.

Being an optimistic and upbeat person hasn’t always come so naturally to me. Until the end of high school, I was a complainer and always dwelled on what wasn’t going well for me. What brought about the change? Losing weight (the first time) and finding self-confidence. I learned to like myself for who I was, which made me happier overall. Going to college was also really good for me, since I was just in a better place socially, emotionally and intellectually. So it is important to make sure that you’re in tune with your wants and needs and take the steps you need to get where you want to be.

This shift in my outlook didn’t happen overnight, though. Whenever I notice that I’m spending more time thinking about the annoying/frustrating/sad things, I try to guide my thoughts to something that’s good about it. Case in point: my current assignment in school. I also try to spend more time with people that lift me up. One last thing I do is to take time to do the things that make me feel good about myself, like playing piano, exercising, and spending time with friends. What are things you do to help stay positive?

Along those lines, I had to harness my positivity during my run today. It was such a struggle for the first four miles, but I stuck it out, despite the recurring thought to turn around and go home, and finished 6 miles in just over 54 minutes. I kept telling myself that I could make it through, and instead of aiming for “perfection” (i.e. a quick pace and few walking breaks), I decided to slow my pace a bit and walk as often as I needed to until my legs loosened up. I also tried to look around and notice just how nice out it was: about 65 degrees with a light breeze and sunshine! In the end, I finished at a really quick pace: 9:15 minute/mile and ran my last mile at a 8:30 minute/mile pace!

On my way home from school, I knew that I needed some caffeine to help me get into the running mindset. I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and bought a small iced 1/2 decaf 1/2 regular coffee with caramel flavoring and skim milk. Ahh…So refreshing!

Dinner tonight was an absolute favorite recipe of mine: Hearty Vegetarian Meatless Chili. I’ve found the recipe on Google Books here. I find a lot of Weight Watchers recipes to be flavorless and not filling enough, but this one is definitely an exception. Whenever I cook this for people, they always rave about how yummy it is!

To make it, you first saute several crushed cloves of garlic, one chopped onion, one chopped green bell pepper, and a minced jalapeno (use more seeds for a spicier dish, fewer for a milder taste) in some olive oil for about 8 minutes, until soft. Next, add 1 chopped eggplant, a bag of soy crumbles, one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add a can of drained and rinsed red kidney beans and let simmer for another 20 minutes, or until eggplant is soft.

The finished product:

I served it over brown rice and topped it with reduced fat cheddar cheese and plain greek yogurt.

I decided today that I want to get into Glee.


I sang a cappella in college and know that the show will be fun and bring me back to my good old days of singing. I watched a couple episodes at the gym one day, and had a hard time not dancing and singing along while on the elliptical. Who else is watching tonight? Do I need to watch the other seasons to know what’s happening?


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