little-miss-busy-300x165There has been lots of posts lately in my social media feeds about the epidemic of being chronically “busy”.  Its become a common fabric in the way of life now, partly because we are always connected.. emails, Facebook, cell phones, Instagram.  We used to have home phones, and so going out meant we would be unavailable for at least a few hours (geeze.. I’m dating myself there!!), but now we take that convenience with us.  We have worked into a society where being “busy” is touted as though it were a marker of success.  The downside is that along with busy comes more stress, less sleep, and generally cutting corners when it comes to living healthier.  Now, don’t get me wrong.. I have been the WORST for exclaiming how crazy busy I am!! For as long as I can remember, I have worn busy as the badge of honor.  Now… I’m not about to go on telling other people what a terrible habit this is and the pitfalls of society.. nope.. This is me, working on me!  

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A friend told me about a year ago.. “You are a human BEING, not a human DOING!!”.  That was an incredibly novel concept to me, and from that, I have made it a mission in 2016 to try and be more present when I do things. like taking an evening to enjoy the company of friends and family, but work hard when its time to work.  Sounds great right?  Well, as a recovering PhD student who’s identity is founded on being “busy” ALL THE TIME.. its not nearly as easy as it sounds.  There is something about being a PhD student that links everything you do to an immense pressure cooker of guilt.  It seems as though being off-the-chart busy and stressed is too often benchmark of normal, and if you haven’t achieved that level yet, you just aren’t doing it right.  

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Following my thesis defense and submission in the April, I have made excellent progress in this front, but some weeks, I still get busy.  Like this week!! I’m getting set to launch my first Fitness Lifestyle Accountability Group (FLAG) program.  Its going well, and spots are nearly full (one left if you were considering it!).  I’m super stoked about it!!!  But I’m building the whole program myself, according to my own vision of how my personal experiences and teaching skills can be used for maximum benefit.  So, this means I’m very busy with program development, planning, marketing, and all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into something like this.  I’m pouring myself into it because I see this as a real opportunity to help people with their nutrition and activity goals, and general healthier lifestyle.  After my PhD, I have been determined to use my experiences in a positive way to help people in their journey to healthier living.  

Its a bit ironic then that I am so passionate about helping people through the FLAG program, but in turn that throws me right back into the “busy” trap.   That is just a fact of life, not just for me, but for everyone. Ideally, on weeks like this, I will have meal prep done, and my routine locked in, so that its just a matter of working longer hours, and not cutting corners. My secret to staying on track when life gets crazy is CHICKEN …. lots of it!!  

The biggest GAME CHANGER ever though was when I learned how to shred chicken in just minutes.  
-I put a few kilos of chicken breast into the slow cooker, and I top liberally with salsa (watch your labels for sugar-free!  I use Pace Salsa from Costco, or chunky President’s Choice) and stir so that the salsa is spread around the chicken.   
-Cook in the slow cooker on low for about 8 hours – I do it overnight.  
-Let it cool a bit and then use a hand held kitchen mixer on a low setting to mix the chicken, and as you do that, it will effortlessly shred the chicken.  

Photo credit http://andreadekker.com/how-i-shred-chicken/

Photo credit
http://andreadekker.com/how-i-shred-chicken/

I portion the shredded chicken and freeze it.  It can freezer burn quickly, so its better in small bags than in plastic containers.  It is super quick to reheat, and extremely versatile.  Next post, I’ll share how I use the chicken broth, and shredded chicken to create my own instant “noodle” soup.  

What secrets to you have to stay on track when life gets too busy?  Share your kitchen hacks, stress busters, or routines that help dial down the crazy a couple notches for you.