It’s about 5:30 on Friday morning, and I’m still blurry-eyed even with my glasses on. While lots of you are still tucked away in your comfy beds (except for Terry, and maybe my dad), I’m up at my computer, drinking a big ‘ol glass of water, and a big ‘ol cup of coffee.

Over the years, I’ve had stints of early rising: in junior high, when I had a paper route (yes, a real paper route), in college when I worked the opening shift at a gym, and most recently the two years I taught a 5:30 am indoor cycling class on Mondays and Wednesdays. Getting up early is hardest the night before. I need a decent amount of sleep in order to function in a friendly way. If I’m going to get up early, I need to get to bed pretty early, as well as put in a little prep work the night before. But once I’ve got a good routine, I really like doing the early bird thing. It’s quiet, and I feel most productive early on, which is good, because when you get up before the sun, you tend to fade in the afternoon.

What does this have to do with anything? I’m not sure. Just because I’m awake doesn’t mean my brain is functioning!

Actually, what this crack of dawn thing has done is make it easier to hit one of trainer Bob’s skinny rules: drink water as soon as you get up. I’ve spent the week integrating some of the other rules from Harper’s book into my own wellness plan, and that, along with a comment on my book review post, gave me an idea. How about featuring a Week of Wellness–WOW– a snippet of the wellness activities going on around my house? It’s a good excuse to play with Instagram, which I just joined, and am figuring out how to use. And no, I’m clearly not an early adopter.

So, without further ado, here’s a photo diary of some of the “skinny rules” meals I’ve had this week.

Roasted veggies with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.

Served with pan-fried tilapia. I just coated the fish in a little salt, pepper, flour mix, sprayed my pan with cooking spray, and cooked the fish in a little bit of garlic butter. Then, just before serving, I squirted the fish with fresh lemon juice. It was awesome!

You might also notice a glimpse of red wine there. Let me remind you; I’m not really trying to lose weight here (although five pounds is always nice!), so I allow some leeway in my diet for a glass of red wine, sweet potatoes, etc. In his book, Harper recommends avoiding certain foods as well as alcohol in the initial phases of a weight-loss plan. If major weight-loss is your goal, you will have to be more strict, at least initially.

The next night, I bought a rotisserie chicken, which in my house lasts a couple of days. For myself, I made a yummy salad, with fresh greens, chicken, tomatoes, avocado, pepitas and a little bit of non-fat plain yogurt seasoned with a dry buttermilk ranch sprinkle. Yum!

For the kids, I used the same chicken, tomatoes and avocado, but instead of putting them in a salad, I made quesadillas. I also added refried black beans and some cheese. Because Mike was out of town, and I like to keep it easy, I actually did this same dinner two nights in a row. The second night I added some sliced red pepper. Everyone was happy and satisfied.

I’ve been making tons of fruit shakes this week. They make a delicious and refreshing afternoon snack. Packed with kale, Greek yogurt and chia seeds, along with whatever frozen fruit I have on hand, they are satisfying without being heavy. No crackers, cereal or other bready carbs needed. If you still need a little crunch, add a small handful of nuts. I know if you’re at work, making an afternoon fruit shake like this isn’t very realistic; but it’s a nice option on mornings, weekends or even post-gym before dinner to keep you from eating everything in sight while you cook.

Cheat night! Thursdays we have baseball, and practice ends pretty late. Sometimes I’m on top of things, and prepare a meal ahead of time to eat at the field, or when we get home. Sometimes, not. Last night we went out for pizza. Harper says a cheat day/meal is totally appropriate, and I agree. There’s gotta be some fun in your diet, or you’ll never manage to stick with it. The key is to plan for it. Yesterday, I knew hoped we’d go out for pizza after baseball practice, so I ate light and healthy all day. I didn’t feel one bit guilty about last night’s meal. Tonight, it’s back on track: I’m thinking quinoa, feta, tomatoes, greens, leftover chicken?


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