YES - with one day left to go for the month, I am at 83 miles of walking. I got into a great groove of doing 3 miles in 48 minutes on the elliptical machine. I managed to walk 20 miles this week without leaving the house. Take that Mr. Winter. February being only 28 days, I am set mentally to walk three miles every day on the elliptical machine if need be.
Archive for January, 2011
Initiation - Jean, my lovely sous chef for making this soup wanted the recipe. Okay, I need to confess, being the sous chef requires you do pretty much ALL the work for this soup. Jean - find yourself a sous chef and this soup becomes VERY easy to make.
Planning - as stated above, the first requirement for making this soup is having someone capable of using a sharp knife without injuring themselves to help you. You (or they) will be cutting a LOT of vegetables into small bits. You will also need a large stock pot.
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 large Leeks
10 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh oregano
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 large acorn squash
10 large roma or heirloom tomatoes
2 cups softened red beans (you can use canned but drain them well)
2 cups softened large white beans (canelli beans, lima beans or some other white beans - not Fava though as some folks have a unknown severe allergy to fava beans).
1 - 2 cups left over pasta cut into small bits (I use the pasta I make for this)
Wash and slice the leeks.
Place them into the stock pot on very low heat with the olive oil. You are going to “sweat” the vegetables BEFORE you add the water. This releases much more flavor into the final soup. Keep the temperature low - you are not browning anything in this recipe.
While they are sweating, peel and thinly slice the garlic. Add to the leeks to sweat the garlic as well.
Finely chop the basil and oregano. Add this to the sweating vegetables.
Peel the acorn squash. Remove the seeds and put aside (you can roast these later to munch on).
Dice the acorn squash into 1 inch squares. Add to the sweating vegetables. Cook for about 20 minutes BEFORE adding the tomatoes.
Cut the tomatoes into the same small squares - skin, seeds and all. Add to the sweating vegetables. sweat for another 15 minutes.
Add the softened beans. sweat for another 15 minutes.
Put 4 - 8 cups water (depending on the volume and thickness of the soup you want to make).
Heat slowly. Then add the left over pasta.
Salt and pepper to taste.
When serving, sprinkle with fresh herbs and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice
Monitor and Control
Keep the temperature low
This recipe is a take your time type of thing. It is good if you are multi-tasking with this making other things - like making bread, posting other recipes in your blog, etc.
Make sure anyone you have helping you knows to keep the temperature low on the stove - especially when you add the tomatoes. If the temp gets too high, the tomatoes lose their shape and the soup looks like it has tomato puree in it instead of just little bits of tomatoes.
Also, make sure the acorn squash is mostly cooked (slightly firm and not mushy) before you put in the tomatoes.
This is a great soup to put in little containers and freeze. I use glass bowls with good lids and move it right to the microwave for a nice lunch.
In the Influencer book by Patterson, he talks about how you can increase your motivation towards a challenge when you see stumbling blocks as guide posts towards a different path rather than as stop signs in pursuing your goals.
As I sit here looking out at the two + feet of snow outside, I wonder why did I have no problem walking several miles a day while in Anchorage last month in weather far more extreme? Get me in the lower 48 and the snow creates a psychological stop sign for my walking 1000 miles goal. Instead of falling into the reptilian brain response and give up, I have worked on understanding the problem and moving into the “lets find a solution mode.” (Thank You Mr. Patterson) I found it easy enough to walk in Anchorage, even with more extreme cold and snow, as these are the normal winter conditions. People don’t stop living their lives because of a little snow. There are plenty of outdoor walking options there. When it is light out in Alaska, the people are out too. During unseasonably large snow falls in the Northeast, options for walking are limited. This much snow in the Northeast is a rarity and just existing in it is a challenge. I do have the option of putting on cross country skis, or snow shoes to brave the conditions and go out. But it takes a lot more energy to cover the same distance as I do walking on a well worn trail. And it uses a number of different muscles. The chance of injury increases if I try to meet my mileage goals wearing the snow shoes or cross country skis as these newly challenged muscles are just not in shape for the level of mileage I want to accomplish.
So, to get past my standard reptilian brain excuse generator, what I’ve taken to doing is getting in two to three miles on the elliptical machine first thing in the morning. Then I have the minimum mileage covered for the day. If I go out on the snow shoes or the cross country skis, it adds to my mileage count. This way I don’t over do it using muscles that are not conditioned for that activity, yet. Because my elliptical machine is not one of those that engages your arms, I’ve also fit in swimming about every other day. Luckily I walked over 60% of the mileage for the month BEFORE I left the warm weather, so the lower mileage as I adjust to this new routine has me in good position to meet the 85 mile goal for the month. I managed to walk 13 miles without leaving my house this week. Plus fit in three hour long workouts in the pool. WOO HOOO - move over reptilian brain. I’ve conquered my inherent nature to sabotage exercise pursuits.
This was my first full week of work of the new year. And I was at an off site meeting all week. I managed to walk 22.2 miles. 5 miles fewer than the week before. I did all my walking the first thing of the day. These days were packed in strategic planning meetings. I knew if I didn’t make it out the door in the morming, I was most likely not going to make it out at all. Overall I consider it a win. I’m still ahead of where I need to be for the month.
This week is a bit tougher as I am back in the Northeast of the US working with the staff that is in this part of the country. I need to gear up for walking in the winter or just resign myself to getting most of my miles in on the elliptical machine.
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Right now I am teaching a class on Influence Strategies for Project Managers. One of the projects we are doing is working on a personal and a professional influence challenge. My personal influence challenge is to exercise more consistently - i.e. the reason for the 1000 mile walking challenge.
My other influence challenge is to work on making our federal and state tax situation more fair and equitable. At all levels of government, the government agencies are getting extremely aggressive and egregious in taxation. My company Cheetah Learning does business in 40 different cities in the United States. I have to employ three full time tax accountants and a tax attorney to just deal with the taxation issues on the local, state and federal levels. Not only that, we continually have the IRS looking for ways to tax us more. This behavior significantly hurts my small business’ ability to create more new products, more jobs, and to help more people. The time that I could and should be using to create new products and help my students improve their professional credentials, I am actually spending addressing the “past” from the perspective of these taxation folks who want to demonize me for one thing or another as a way to get me to pay even more than the 40% taxes I’m paying now (not to mention all the payroll taxes I cover for the 40 employees). Those new IRS agents hired by the current administration - thank you very much. They are harassing the very folks keeping this country churning. This isn’t just me complaining - the tax compliance issue impacts all of us. Click here to see how.
Considering that my company helps each and every one of our students earn at least $10,000 more per year, they should be giving me a rebate. NOT harassing the living daylights out of me and sucking my will to live. Additionally, the lower 50% of the population pays less than 3% of the overall taxes, yet can elect people to office who keep raising the taxes on the upper 50%. THIS IS NOT FAIR - nor will it help the lower 50% either. We in the upper 50% are the ones who create the jobs, and the opportunities for the folks to MOVE themselves UP to the upper 50%. Hurt us and you hurt yourself even more.
One of my students in the Influence Strategies course, when reading my professional challenge about creating a more fair taxation system, pointed me towards fairtax.org. After reviewing their website - I am now going to dedicate my thousand mile challenge to raising awareness of the extreme need for the Fair Tax legislation. The main premise is to replace all taxes with a national sales consumption tax of 23%. YES - this is FAIR. As people who make more money do spend more money so they will pay more taxes on the expensive luxury items they do purchase. It has a clause in there so the lowest earners get a rebate on their taxes.
I am going to donate $5 for every mile walked to fairtax.org. If you’d like to sponsor me on my thousand mile challenge and make a donation to fairtax.org based on the miles that I walk click here.
I walked 6 of the 7 days this week for a total of 27.8 miles. The nordic poles increased my speed plus the foot and shin pain are gone. I’m sold on using the poles. This means more days where I can walk because I’m not recovering from some minor injury.
My walking buddy and I got lost on one of our walks. Our three mile walk ended up an aggressive hill climb of five miles. We ended up in a pretty shady section of town. I’m considering taking a self-defense course to learn how to use a taser.
We backed off to the routes we knew well. On one of our standard routes - we keep seeing the same people. Yesterday, a couple stopped when they were driving by. The driver said - “he (pointing to his passenger) is a personal trainer.” (I was then expecting a pitch for his services as a personal trainer). Instead he says - “Lady, we think you are doing an f&*^%ing great job of walking.” That was so nice to hear. I have been working on my walking technique. Funny as before I took the chi walking class, I never even thought about my walking technique. Focusing on technique has made the walking far more interesting.
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
It’s the start of a new year, and like every new year, I set goals for the year. These are different than “resolutions” as I fully intend on meeting them. Some of these goals are the same from year to year: get in better shape, spend more time with my family, work smarter (not necessarily harder), decrease expenses, increase revenue, be the change I want to see in the world, end world hunger, get a super power… This year I set a new goal. I will walk 1,000 miles before the end of the year. Instead of approaching this goal rationally, like I’m prone to do for any project, I wanted to apply the ideas in the book “Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior”, by Ori and Rom Brafum. If I behave irrationally naturally as the authors point out, I may as well behave irrationally in a way that helps achieve my objectives.
Several years ago, when I first read the Brafum’s book, I created a summary mind map to better harness my own irrational behavior.
Here is how I will use Sway to help me walk 1,000 miles this year:
1. Commitment - The Brafum’s state that people will stick with a course of action even if it is clearly not the way to go. Doing the math, walking 1,000 miles in a year will require me to walk at least 85 miles every month. If I am only able to walk 80% of the time (setback by the thousands of excuses I can generate) that means I have to walk 3.2 miles every day I manage to get off my computer. If I publicize these figures, I am likely to be more committed to it (what I’m doing here). I am less committed to updating progress, but will be doing so from time to time on my blog – www.michellelabrosseblogs.com. It will be filed under the category “Thousand Mile Walk”.
2. Value Attribution – High tech shoes, pedometer apps on my iPhone, Nordic walking sticks, that posh walking clinic to learn how to do Chi walking (see blog post) – these all make me want to walk MORE. Admittedly, I am a gadget, gizmo, techno head. I am inspired by this personality characteristic.
3. Diagnostic Bias – People live up to how others label them. Proactively, I label myself as a Chi Walker. Chi Walking is a fascinating technique. You focus on your posture with all types of ways to align your body to get a great workout while reducing the chance of overuse injuries. I am a chi walker who is on a 1,000 mile journey.
4. Perception of Fairness –When I was a new, young bride, my husband, who was almost a foot taller than me, would walk at a leisurely pace and I had to jog just to keep up with him. It felt so unfair and demoralizing. What I learned in Chi walking is you walk based on the pace and gait that is right for you. It doesn’t matter if the pace is right for anyone else. I am short, and therefore my gait is shorter than other people. Chi walking uses a core rotational technique that helps me move faster while maintaining my shorter gait. I can keep pace comfortably when walking with my taller (actually, average height) friends. It now feels “fair”.
5. Motivation – Different pleasure centers are activated in your brain based on your source of motivation. Materialistic rewards of achieving a goal don’t cut it for me as much as the intrinsic feeling of accomplishment I get for reaching that goal. According to Barfum’s book, this is pretty much the same for all people. Pushing myself past my 3.2 mile per walk goal gets me excited. Having somewhere fun to walk to with my family or friends gets me motivated to go out and walk.
6. Value of Dissenting Opinions – My parents raised me to challenge current authority, a trait I have passed down to my children. They all feel free to openly challenge the way I walk, where I’m walking, when I’m walking, how fast I’m walking, who else is walking with us, why we’re walking, the current weather conditions, our shoes, the brand of moleskin for blisters, pedometers, how much water to bring, and who will be our support vehicle if something goes awry. This creates a tremendous amount of focus and energy around the very act of going for these daily walks.
7. Aversion to Losses - A couple years ago, my mom and I were taking a water aerobics class from this character we nicknamed “Boot Camp Bob”. In his flag baseball cap over his shaved head, he barked exercise instructions at us while John Phillip Sousa music blared from pool’s sound system. He used to shout – “Get moving you pansies so you don’t end up in the nursing home.” This inspired my walking mantra - get moving, stay young. According to Newton’s first law of motion, a body in motion stays in motion
I’m now inspired to act irrationally and achieve my 1,000 mile walking goal. How can you harness the power of irrational forces to achieve your goals?
A. What commitments drive your current behavior? How can you change your commitments?
B. What value do you place on achieving your goals? How can you increase the value for you?
C. What labels can you use on yourself that will help you achieve your goal?
D. How can you make it a “fair” game to achieve your goal?
E. What intrinsic motivators get you fired up to go for your goal?
F. Who challenges you? How can you get them to do it more so you get a fire in your belly to go for it?
G. What will you lose if you fail to reach your goal? How can you avoid experiencing that loss?
Be irrational. It might just help you go for it!
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
It now appears that using some suncreens, instead of helping to reduce your chances of getting skin cancer actually increase it. ARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH. Visit the Cosmetic Safety Database site to see what toxins are in your skin care products.
I created a summary mind map for sunscreens.
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Steve Paine, OMD is in my Cheetah Mastermind Group. In early November he and I were brainstorming how to improve people’s overall wellness. Based on our discussions, I embarked on an experiment with the Cheetah team. Over a week we assigned and selected cheetah wellness buddies. The experiment is to see if working with our cheetah wellness buddies to set our own individual wellness goals for the week and the month improves key behaviors for wellness. The wellness buddies give each other atta cheetah points for achieving their goals. The atta cheetah system is an employee recognition system that everyone can participate in. At the end of each month, a pot of $5000 is distributed to everyone who earned atta cheetah points that month - based on their percentage of the total points earned. We are now in the second month of the program. The amount of atta cheetah points being distributed has increased ten fold. I’m not sure if our overall wellness has improved, but our gratitude for each other certainly has.
The first month, I was partnered with our pentathlete CFO. The guy is an amazing athlete, and also lives in London. The second month, we swapped wellness buddies. Our Pentathlete CFO is now partnered with our Marathon running Director of Marketing. Me, I got someone my own age, with similar workaholic, excuse making tendencies who actually resides less than an hour from where I am hanging out these days.
As a company we are all reading the book - Influencer - The Power to Change Anything. In the book, we have studied how our stories impact our behavior. One of my stories was since I was forced to exercise in the Air Force or risk the shame of having to do the Air Force Fat Boy program, I have resisted exercise ever since. What motivates me is the fear of an excessively negative consequence. The CFO is new to the company and might not be that comfortable enforcing an excessively negative consequence on me. My new wellness buddy, more a peer and a friend, has no such hesitation of dreaming up dire consequences. And I have good reason to believe she is crazy enough to follow through. I’m sure I conjure up the same level of fear for her.
So my new wellness buddy and I, in early December, created a fairly severe bet. If by Jan. 4th, either one of us were not able to walk 2 miles in under 30 minutes and lose 8 pounds, the other could hire her the most disgusting personal trainer. Additionally, the slacker would have to show up at the other’s house at 7 AM for a whole month to work out.
Well this inspired me to get moving. I do not like working out with personal trainers. Also, I don’t want to have to get up at 5:30 AM and drive an hour just to work out. I started walking. This wasn’t easy as I also started a six week long trip December 10th as well. My first stop was Anchorage Alaska. Every day we made it outside - first in 10 degree weather, then in 5 degree weather, then in 0 degree weather. We walked. My next stop was Kauai. Yes, much nicer. We walked, and we walked, and we walked. I finally discovered how far I was walking with a cool pedometer app for the Iphone. Three miles one day, an accidental six miles the next. We found a nice burger stand 2 miles away. That inspired more walking (and more eating). To see how I was doing on the weight loss side of things, I purchased a very interesting scale. First it showed me gaining five pounds. Then we changed where we were staying. No more burger walks. The new place also must have had lower gravitational forces too as I lost 13 pounds in one day. I don’t believe the scale. My clothes are looser. I have no idea how much I really weigh. It doesn’t matter.
According to the Influencer book - to change people’s behavior you need to make the undesirable desirable. One of the ways you do this is by having people experience what it is they think they won’t like. This is what the month of December was for me. According to the pedometer Iphone app, I walked 41.6 miles at an average speed of 3.4 MPH from Dec. 11 - Dec. 31st. This is a fun game. I now see myself as a walker and I actually enjoy it.
Another way to change people’s behavior is to inspire them to surpass their own limits. This is where the thousand mile challenge comes in. I am challenging myself to walk 1000 miles this year.
If I am to walk 1000 miles this year, I have to walk 85 miles every month. I figure I can walk at least 80% of the days every month so that is at least 3.2 miles per day for 25 days of the month.
Risk Management - To prevent from getting injuries that can derail my plan, I am paying attention to when I get sore, changing up my walking techniques, using nordic sticks, trying various shoes, taping my feet when necessary to reduce the chance of heel spurs (something I got a few years back).
I walk in the morning before the day gets away from me. I know from past experience if I don’t get out in the morning, I tend to not make time for the walk at all.
I make it fun and plan in destinations. Today, we walked 4 1/2 miles to very nice brunch at a local hotel (yes we got a ride back). We had to walk through a stream and climb a steep hill. It was a blast.
Monitor and Control
I’m testing out a Droid app too. It has this great map GPS feature that seems a bit more accurate than the Iphone app. HOWEVER, it keeps automatically shutting off. I have to figure out why.
The Iphone app has a pace setter tone. The tone at times seems rather variable. Additionally, the Iphone app sometimes reads this walk we know is 1 mile as .8 of a mile.
I will keep testing out pedometer apps for the mobile platforms.
I’m about 10% complete on the monthly goal of 85 miles and it’s Jan. 2. I have two more weeks here before I head back to the frigid north. I want to be about 80% of the way to reaching my monthly goal by the time I head out on Jan. 16. That means I’ll have to walk 4.25 miles per day.