Busyness is not a Badge of Honor

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I cannot tell you how many times I have had this exact conversation over the last few years. Nine times out of ten, I answer with a vague “busyness” followed up with,  “and I don’t even know what we’ve been doing”, which is mostly true. One of the reasons I started this blog was to take back my 62 (free hours) and in doing so, I have had to evaluate exactly where these 62 hours have been going for the last few months, or even years. I don not have to look any further than my own calendar, which is filled with charity events, work obligations, family obligations, working out, grocery shopping, cooking, erranding and that’s just within the last few months.

The sad part is, I often hear the same “busyness” excuse just as much as I, myself, use it. It seems as if we all wear this “busyness” as a badge of honor, or as a status symbol. We associate being “busy” with being important or fulfilled. I know that at times I feel that way. When I first started at Hinshaw, I did not have much work to do and it took a good nine months before I was fully integrated into the firm. Those nine months were painful! I would hear all about the cool things my friends were doing and how busy they were and I felt lazy and unimportant in comparison. To compensate for my lack of fulfillment at work, I ended up filling my weekends and nights with extracurricular activities so that I could achieve that same busyness lifestyle and in reality all I was doing was wearing myself out. I should have been taking advantage of the slower pace at work to adjust to a new job and new city and to get to know my co-workers, instead I was too focused on being “busy” that I burned out. I quickly had to scale back my weekend trips out of town and force myself to relax a little bit.

I would bet that if we all just stopped for a second, we would realize that being “busy” isn’t bringing us joy or making us happy. I know this is certainly true for me. I am currently working my way through Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown to combat this exact problem. Essentialism is exactly what it sounds like; focusing on only those things that are essential to you and letting everything else go. By doing this, you are able to focus on those things that bring you joy and happiness and are essential to your well being and discard those things that get in the way of more meaningful activities. The important thing is that everyone’s view of what is essential is unique and it takes time and self reflection to figure it out. 

I am not saying that everyone has to read a book or embark on a journey of being less busy, however, I am advocating that you evaluate your own “busyness” and if you find (like I have) that your life is filled with activities that do not bring you joy or happiness, 2017 is the perfect time for you to let it go, fill your life with those things that bring you joy, and see how your life is transformed.

And the next time someone asks you how you are, instead of automatically replying with “ugh…busy”, wouldn’t it be great if you had something meaningful to say? I encourage you to try it and let me know how it goes!

                                                       – KT

Is it Paleo? Is it Vegan? Does it even matter?

This week, I thought I would take the opportunity to discuss my Food Philosophy and explain, in advance, why you will see Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, and sometimes not so healthy dishes featured on my blog  and Instagram (@theother62). I have been developing my Food Philosophy over the past two years into what it is today. In order to understand my Food Philosophy, you must know a little bit about the journey that got me here.

My foodie journey began in the Fall of 2014. While I attended law school from 2010-2013, I was surviving mostly on Sarapino’s pizza and mac and cheese bites. I suffered from daily headaches, never felt great and would feel nauseous constantly, but I contributed my symptoms to too much stress, coffee, alcohol, etc. It was only after graduating from law school and taking the bar exam in July of 2013 that I started focusing more on my diet and symptoms. After about a year of frustration, including a humiliating trip to the doctor, I decided to take matters into my own hands and embark on my first Whole30. I will not go into detail on the nuts and bolts of this program but it is essentially an elimination diet that pulls from the Paleo lifestyle. I was first introduced to this program by a good friend and loved that all the information needed to complete a Whole30 is available free on their website. However, given the fact that I like to know/research pretty much everything, I dove head first into their first book “It Starts with Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I loved that they addressed each food group separately and talked about how different food really impacts your body.

It turns out that I was pretty uneducated about what food I was consuming and there was a very steep learning curve to climb. Not only that but prior to my first Whole30, my definition of cooking involved a TV dinner and a microwave. Needless to say, the first 30 days were tough and I ended up actually staying on the Whole30 program for 45 days because I was scared. I knew that I was feeling better than I ever have, which meant that something I had been eating was causing some serious damage to my body. Honestly, I did not really want to find out what that was because I knew it would change how I eat for the rest of my life, and the idea of giving up bread, cheese, wine, etc was more than I could handle. But, eventually I decided it was time to do the reintroduction, and to my surprise I found out that I have a severe gluten intolerance. So, I get to keep cheese and wine but I had to give up (normal) bread. I was in denial for a while and would sneak the occasional donut, but pretty soon my symptoms were back and completely undeniable.

After my first Whole30, I embraced the Paleo lifestyle; filling my shelves with (almost) every Paleo cookbook I could find. However, after being Paleo-ish/gluten free for about two years, I realized that some of those pesky symptoms that were relieved when I quit eating gluten had returned. I was back to the days of headaches, nausea, and fatigue. In between, I had completed five more Whole30s but felt like it was not addressing the issue. So back to the doctor I went, and almost exactly two years after completing my first Whole30 I was now completing my first Elimination Diet. The Elimination Diet is Whole30 on steroids. You cut out dairy, sugar, nightshades, beef, pork, citrus, nuts, eggs and corn but you are allowed to have brown rice and beans, both of which are not Paleo and have never been a staple in my kitchen. The Elimination Diet starts with two days of Detox (liquids only) followed by two weeks of elimination and then a lengthy 60 day reintroduction period. I will talk about my Elimination Diet, and why I have to do a second one, in more detail in a subsequent post but there were a few key takeaways, which are now a part of my Food Philosophy.

The elimination portion of the diet reflects a more vegan lifestyle. Turkey and chicken are allowed but let’s be honest, there are only so many different ways to eat a chicken breast. I learned fairly quickly that I had been consuming too much animal protein while trying to adhere to the Paleo diet. I rarely consumed beans or rice, since they are not Paleo, but found that my body actually responded well to both. Additionally, I found out that I cannot tolerate tomatoes, pecans, and cayenne, which were all allowed on the Paleo diet. But after reintroducing pork, I found that I love bacon (who doesn’t?) and thus bacon once again became a morning staple. I could go on and on about the lessons learned during my Whole30s and the Elimination Diet but with only 62 hours who has time for that?

So I will get to the point, my Food Philosophy is that everyone is different and there is no one size fits all to nutrition. You have to experiment with a diet like the Whole30 or maybe even with an Elimination Diet to determine the proper nutrition plan for your body. I had been avoiding beans and rice just because they were not Paleo, but once I added them into my diet my health actually improved. I had also been consuming tomatoes and cayenne because they were considered Paleo when in reality they were making me feel awful. If I had stuck to the Paleo diet I never would have been healthy. Likewise, if I had labelled myself a vegan, I would not get to enjoy the occasional bacon, and what is life without bacon? I don’t know and frankly I don’t want to find out, which is why you will see Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, and some not so healthy foods on this blog and on my Instagram, and why you will never hear me say that I am Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, etc because I’m not. I am trying to eat the healthiest food for MY body. I personally believe that everyone should develop their own Food Philosophy and I hope that I have encouraged you to do so.

If you have any questions about anything I mentioned in this post, please reach out to me!

– KT

If you don’t prioritize your life…

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How many times do you arrive at work and feel like you never truly left? Or maybe you feel like you did not get anything accomplished in your time away. I have felt this feeling more times than I would like to admit, putting in a 10+ day at the office, only to collapse on my couch as soon as I get home. These evenings are inevitably filled with Netflix and a quick (most likely unhealthy) meal. But what happened? How did I get here?

Every morning I wake up with the goals to do yoga, drink more tea, meditate, cook a healthy meal for my fiance and I and complete an elaborate nightly routine that sets me up for the best sleep of my life. The times that I have actually done one or more of those things in a day are few and far between and, quite simply, I hate it.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not hate my job or my life. In fact, I feel fortunate to be able to practice law. However, being an attorney is an almost unavoidably stressful job leaving me with little to no time to pursue other interests or hobbies.

Which brings me to this, a blog! I have thought about starting this blog since February 2015 and I’m finally doing it. So, welcome! I hope you find what you are looking for and if you don’t then I at least hope you enjoyed your time here.

This blog is being started to help me take back my Other 62 (more information in the About Section) and I hope it inspires you to do so as well because “if you do not prioritize your life, someone else will” and wouldn’t that be a shame.

If you like what you find on this page, please follow me on Instagram at @theother62 and if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please contact me. I would love to hear from you. 

– KT