Recently, I organized a happy hour in lower Manhattan for my practice and personally invited two of my closest colleagues and friends. Both of these women are extremely smart and driven, and hold prestigious roles at our firm.
As we enjoyed wine and hors doeuvres and decompressed from our busy work weeks, my friends quickly unveiled their frustration with finding the time to be healthy while working in a busy, demanding career. Within the last year, both of them also had babies, and they craved losing their pregnancy weight and getting healthy again.
One friend got down on herself, explaining to us that “if only she woke up earlier, was motivated enough to go to the gym after work, or structured her weekend better” — she would reach her goals. She felt like she wasnt trying hard enough — and it was her willpower that was preventing her from looking and feeling better about herself.
She confessed that at the end of a busy day, she just wants to relax with a glass of wine — and cooking or eating a healthy meal seemed like so much work. Her days were packed with client meetings and she was tired every night. With her extra time, the only thing she wanted to do was play with her young baby. A quick sandwich or noodles were all she had time to make.
I empathized with them — Ive been there and know many other ambitious women who have too.
We are constantly filled with guilt about not having enough motivation to get to the gym, or enough willpower to resist the temptation of the pastries and donuts in the halls at work. We beat ourselves up because we know the healthier choice to make — but in that moment, it doesn’t matter. Were hungry, tired, and need more energy.
For many of us, were amazing in all areas of our lives — our career, social life, and/or being a mom. We want to get healthy, but we just cant crack the code — we cant find the time or get the motivation to get and stay as healthy as we want, on top of everything else.
To celebrate Maya Angelous life, I want to share a quote that I love from her.
“We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay — and rise!” — Maya Angelou
Drop Weight and Gain Freedom
When I had extra weight, I would think about it ALL THE TIME. When I opened my eyes in the morning, I would immediately dread the thought of putting on my pants and experiencing the feeling of discomfort around my stomach while I walked around and sat in my chair all day.
Every time I would go out for a meal or sit at my desk with a moment to think, I would instantly think about my unhappiness with my weight. I would feel guilty every evening when I would make the choice to go home instead of stopping at the gym.
After I lost weight, my thoughts suddenly started to shift. I would think about more enjoyable areas of life — like dinners or parties on the weekend where I would get to dress up. I started getting even more proactive in being in more public situations at work — leading events, organizations, and meetings because I was actually EXCITED to be in front of a room. My work clothes fit me nicely and I wasn’t conscious about how I looked and felt in them.
When I opened my eyes in the morning, I no longer DREADED putting my pants on. I could think about so many other things now. Believe it or not, I even loved eating healthy food and getting exercise – because I saw how good it made me feel.
I loved the feeling of my colleagues and friends coming up to me and saying, “Nagina, you look great! Tell me your secrets! How do you do it?”
Once you start getting healthy, it frees your mind and gives you sense of freedom — and helps to transform all areas of our life.
But how do we fit it into our already busy lives?
Weeknight Weight-Loss Recipe
Today, Im sharing a recipe for an easy and tasty dish that you will look forward to after a long day. Below are 2 quick tips to make it more realistic to enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal at the end of a day.
Its helpful if you have the ingredients ahead of time, so that you can come home and cook it immediately. You can even chop up the ingredients ahead of time – however, chop eggplant immediately before you cook this dish or it will get brown.
I prefer cooking this dish (and most of my dishes) on the weekend or on evenings after my kids go to sleep, so that on an evening when Im tired and come home, I just warm it up.
My Eggplant Bell Pepper Medley is a perfect side to any fish, meat, eggs, or tofu dish. It takes only 10 minutes of prep and then it cooks mostly on its own even though the cooking time may seem long. Eggplants are in season right now so its the perfect time to make it.
Eggplant Bell Pepper Medley
Eggplant Bell Pepper Medley
- Cooking spray
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic chopped (about 2 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon ginger chopped (about 2 inches)
- 1 serano or jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 1 large tomato chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 pounds eggplant (~15 little eggplants or 1 big eggplant), chopped into 1" cubes (skin on)
- 1/2 large red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 large orange pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro (for garnish)
- Heat cooking spray in pan on medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and cook until onions are a light brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add tomato and sauté until its soft, for a few minutes.
- Add spices and mix.
- Add eggplant, mix and cover until its soft, for about 15 minutes.
- Open and add bell peppers and cover for 10 more minutes until bell peppers soften.
- Turn off stove, garnish with cilantro and serve!
Hope you love it!