The key to my success in the kitchen and in my workouts is summed up in that one word: Substitution.  There are endless ways to cook meals and there are a bewildering number of exercises to be performed to create a good workout.  My kids make fun of the way I use technology because when they’re looking up “fail” videos, soccer games and new ways to play their video games, I only use it for looking up recipes and exercises. Honestly, other than buying workout clothes, what else is the internet truly for? Here is the catch though: not everything works for how I want to live my life, so I take the good ideas and tweak, bend, add and substitute until I’m happy with the results. This is how we all become the individuals we are and how we all should look at experimenting in the kitchen and in the workout room.

Let’s start in the kitchen, where everyone should start if they want to lose a little weight, by-the-way. I take classic recipes like tacos and find ways to make them just a little bit healthier and still have my kids find them tasty. Did you know there is reduced sodium taco seasoning, or that extra lean meat can be just fine? If you are used to sodium-filled seasonings and fat filled meats this will be a shift but it is perception! You will find that once you commit, the flavor is still there. Especially considering all the extra flavors that get added in later, you certainly won’t miss the salt and fat. My other substitution is kale in my salads. It is a tough and bitter green and most have a very difficult time enjoying a salad made out of it. But a quick pulse in a blender or a short trip in the microwave (20-30 seconds) will soften this great food. Mixing in some crisp romaine so that you have a balance of flavors will make for a wonderful salad base. These substitutions can be found everywhere, especially in desserts. Do you really need a full cup of sugar to make that recipe delicious? No, no, no. I find it fun to see how much cutting out of butter, sugar, oils and starches I can do and still make a meal that will pass my panel of judges – my teenage boys. To my surprise, you can get away with quite a bit!

 

The only thing that has been consistent in all the years of doing this is that whenever I find something new, I immediately start adjusting it until I’m okay with how it turns out. My workouts are no different. A great and simple move like a lunge as an array of ways to make it harder or burn a different area. Enter the curtsy lunge, squat-into-lunge, lateral, walking, jumping. These aren’t breakthrough moves and very well might not have been created by me, but they all create a fun and productive workout. Sometimes my knee hurts or toes burn, and by tweaking the placement of my feet in those same lunges I can make the pain go away. Most times I find people who have great workouts and I think, “How can that be harder?” A little nuts but that is how I have become successful and how my body stays fit.

By staying creative and willing to adjust good things to make them fit my lifestyle, I create a life that pleases me greatly. Substitute what you find to be “almost you” and make it part of what you love!

 

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