Control Your Controllables

April 01 — 2020

Create Your New Normal + Feel Good about it.

 

Juliana Bicycles

Uriell (aka Uri) is a registered dietitian nutritionist and Juliana ambassador living in Breckenridge, Colorado.
 
She is the founder of Inner Wild Nutrition, an online-based nutrition practice focused on helping active humans fuel their best performances + ideal lifestyle (read: no diets). Follow along with Uri on Instagram @uri_carlson.
 

 

My town just went from over 40,000 people to 5,000 in 48hrs. Suddenly, instead of dodging j-waking spring breakers who still have their goggles on their heads at 8PM, I’m driving down mainstreet without even touching the brakes. It feels crazy to say it, but I’m feeling nostalgic about that now. I’ll try to remember that when things get back to normal.

In the meantime, since many of you have had every sense of normalcy completely obliterated in the past two weeks, I’m here to give you some tips that will help you look after your sanity and your health during this time. As a dietitian and an athlete who also happens to work from home, I’d like to think that my experience can give you some insight and a bit of inspiration to allow you to settle into whatever your new normal happens to be.

First and foremost, make a schedule and time block your day

Making a schedule sets the expectations for your day ahead of time and it provides the structure that you otherwise lack when you’re not expected at the office every day at a certain time. I promise, the more you use it, the more productive you will feel at the end of the day.

As someone who works from home in real life, my favorite way to set a schedule is to sit down for 5 minutes the night before with a pen and paper and simply plan out my day. The first hour of your day should always be the same. This is called your “minimally essential first hour”, meaning you do this every day, no matter what the rest of the day looks like. If you start out with a win, it’s much more likely you’ll continue with more. You make your bed for this same reason, right? Yea, right...

For example, wake up, dog walk, make a cup of coffee and then journal or meditate for 10-15 minutes is my minimally essential first hour.

From here, time block your day. Time blocking means that you’re putting similar tasks in one chunk of time, rather than bouncing back and forth between whatever comes to mind.

Research shows that we’re much more productive when we minimize task switching.

(Set your day up around computer work, home chores, food prep, workouts, meals and snacks, or whatever else you need to accomplish). You can also prioritize the tasks that will move the needle the most. To see an example of how I plan out my day, check out this post.

Tip #2 is another thing to add to your schedule: eat intentionally. There’s two reasons for this. First, I don’t want you to forget to eat and then eat 2k calories for dinner because you’re starving (not good for your metabolism) and, second, eating intentionally prevents grazing all day. To avoid both of these traps, plan to eat 3 meals and 1-2 snacks every day.

When it comes to balanced meals, this means there’s a source of protein, healthy fat, fiber, some sort of plants and a carbohydrate.

For example, eggs (or tofu) scrambled with peppers and onions and a piece of whole grain toast with grass-fed butter checkss all the boxes.

A bed of mixed greens with grilled asparagus, baby bell peppers, green beans and fingerling potatoes, plus a serving of protein (seared tuna, chicken, steak) all tossed with a french vinaigrette is another example.

Being at home makes it really easy to snack all day long and forget to eat a complete meal. If you find yourself grabbing a handful of granola or “just one more cracker” every time you walk through the kitchen, you need to be snacking more intentionally. Aim to have a protein and a plant with every snack. A super simple example is peanut butter with an apple.

Here’s some more examples of snacks that will keep you happily fed until your next meal while also giving you a bit of energy to get through that time-blocked task you’re currently working on::

  • Yogurt with almond butter, berries and cocoa nibs
  • Cottage cheese or hummus on whole grain crackers with cucumber slices (top with EBTH or hot sauce to make it grammable)
  • Tuna or egg salad with celery and/or bell pepper dippers

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Juliana Bicycles Image
Rachel Levin Photography

Third, don’t forget to drink water!

Surprise, dehydration decreases productivity. But, how much water are you actually supposed to drink per day? A good place to start is by dividing your body weight in pounds by half. That number equals the minimum ounces of water that you should be aiming for every day.

If you’re training/riding/exercising and sweating a lot, your needs for fluid, in addition to essential electrolytes, increase from the baseline defined above. This is because, whenever you sweat, you lose fluids and you lose electrolytes, both of which need to be replenished. Some of those electrolytes can be replaced with the food you eat, but if you’re sweating a lot because you live in a hot climate, you’re training a lot and thus sweating for multiple hours per day, or if you find yourself with sweat stains on your shirt or helmet straps, you need additional electrolytes with your water.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of challenges going around telling people to drink 1 gallon of water per day. While 1 gallon of water a day isn’t a bad thing, it should come with a couple warnings...first, if you’re not used to drinking this much water, it’s not smart to jump up to 1 gallon right away. Ease into it. Second, if you’re sweating, don’t forget that you need electrolytes in addition to water, or you risk some dangerous consequences.

If you have a hard time drinking water, use a reusable cup and straw. This prevents you from having to pick up a glass or open a water bottle. If you’re at your computer, put your cup in between your arms, basically right in front of your face, and you’ll no doubt drink more water.

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Juliana Bicycles Image
Rachel Levin Photography

Last but not least, tip #4 is to keep moving, even if it’s not like it used to be!

With gyms closed and limited access to outdoor spaces for some, it’s time to get creative with your workouts.

Fortunately, there are a ton of amazing people and businesses offering free online workouts right now.

  • My trainer, @linzeevitofitness from Howard Head Sports Medicine and Dryland Sports in Breckenridge keeps me strong though the offseason and hasn’t let me miss a beat despite our gym being closed
  • Core Power Yoga is offering free online classes - details in this story
    • Check out the Juliana IGTV feed for Alex Pavon’s at-home bodyweight workout
  • The Peloton App is offering a Free 90 Day Trial with a wide variety of indoor and outdoor workout options

Of course, if your local authorities allow you to get outside for a ride and you’re able to maintain social distancing, do it! If you have a trainer for indoor rides, now is the time. Whatever you’re able to do, adding workouts to your schedule will ensure they actually happen, even if no one is watching (see how this all ties back to a schedule?). If you haven’t tried an IG live workout, it’s pretty fun and almost feels like you’re at the gym with your friends.

Finally, please don’t forget to make your mental health and physical wellbeing a priority during these challenging times. As someone recently told me, “control your controllables”. This has been my mantra and I’m sticking to it.

If you have questions for me, join me on the Juliana Instagram on April 3rd for a Live Takeover. We’ll be collecting questions in the days leading up to this event, so stay tuned on IG.

For more recipes and nutrition content, find me on IG @uri_carlson.

Lastly, I can’t leave you without a few of my favorite recipes - enjoy!

  1. My One Bowl Cashew Butter Cookies
  2. This chia seed pudding is making waves right now because all the ingredients are shelf stable
  3. I believe that a good sauce can take a meal from meh to MIND.BLOWN. If you haven’t heard of Bitchin’ Sauce, make this NOW and if you already love it, this recipe from The Faux Martha will save you money. It’s great as a dip or use it as a sauce for burritos or burrito bowls.

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