Why Life is Like Lasagna

Cooking lasagna

Confession: I am a foodie! Give me the French, German, Asia Fusion, Indian cuisines, I love them all. Recently while dinning at a new Italian bistro, my excitement mounted when I spotted lasagna, one of my all time comfort favorites. It made for an easy decision. Order in.

When the steaming dish arrived, my eyes were in for a big shock. Expecting layered ribbons of pasta sheets filled with creamy ricotta and a mouthwatering tomato ragu, I gave the waiter a questioning look. He just smiled and walked away. Once I sampled a bite, my mouth thanked me for a winning pick. Bingo! On my plate was a deconstructed lasagna, same ingredients, different presentation.

Life is a lot like that. Often when we create a particular goal, our natural tendency is to visualize exactly how the experience will unfold. Here’s the rub. It doesn’t always happen that way.

For example, my friend Larry was ready to climb the career ladder. When the timing was right, he applied for a promotion. Larry ended up deeply disappointed as the opportunity was offered to a colleague. During the same time frame, a more lucrative position hit the job posting board far surpassing the advantages of the so-called dream job. Larry told me he was so busy staring at the closed door; he nearly missed the noticing the career prospect. In haste, he made a last minute application. Human Resources reviewed Larry’s file, scheduled an interview and before my long my friend was offered the job.

This is a perfect example of what can happen when we establish preconceived notions. Larry considered only one avenue to moving up in his field and then nearly shut down when it did not occur as he thought. The lesson learned we can all profit from. Make it a practice to remain adaptable and release your attachment to how things should occur. Learn to embrace the unexpected. Stay committed to your goals,

believe in yourself

but remain flexible in your approach.

What does that have to do with lasagna? Well, a standard lasagna is labor intensive, especially Bobby Flay’s recipe (click here) which takes over 2 hours prep time and promises to make you a rock star. You can shortcut this process and create a deconstructed version in much less time. According to a post on the blog Not Quite Nigella,  food enthusiast, Lorraine Elliot, can make one in 35 minutes. The taste is the same, (well, okay maybe not to identical to the critically acclaimed Chef Flay’s version) only the appearance changes.

Keep that in mind the next time you plan your future.

Flexibility text concept

Your journey to the goal line may be much different than you ever planned or imagined. With a little luck, fate might hand you a deconstructed shortcut.


Weighty Goals

set goal, make plan, work, stick to it, reach goal - a success concept presented with colorful sticky notes

About three hours into the church breakfast, it dawned on me. I felt great. Normally by this time, my volunteer job of cooking and scrubbing pots and pans would leave me weary. Not today. I could have done the lunch and dinner service, too. With a knowing smile, I attributed my physical wellbeing to a strength training regiment I recently incorporated into my schedule. About six weeks ago, I employed an experienced fitness trainer to help me build lean muscle and lose undesirable body fat. (Is there such a thing as desirable body fat?) Now it became evident the discipline and determination were starting to pay off.

In the beginning, I was rather skeptical about the work-out sessions. There was nothing fun or sexy about pushing barbells up to my chin or spending time using dumbbells at multiple angles. In addition, I had to learn a whole new nomenclature. I pushed myself to focus on “two away from failure” while trying to remember from my college anatomy class where my deltoid muscles were located and how to fully engage my biceps and triceps. At the same time, I needed to count the reps and alternate the sets. Clearly, this was a whole new way to torture my mind and body, knowing the next morning I would experience aches in muscles I’d forgotten I owned.

No pain no gain

I hung in there because the folks at the Mayo Clinic said strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age. Additionally, my friends at HomeGym101 created a comprehensive guide to help beginners, like me, with a strength training regiment.

Recently, I heard a doctor tout that weight lifting is beneficial for your brain. Knowing that as my body gains muscle it burns calories more efficiently, added another level of encouragement. It also helped that my trainer lavished praise on me when I “held my form,” or completed “a perfect set.” A little approval goes a long way with me.

The most difficult part of upholding my fitness regimen was going to the gym alone. I had to commit my workouts in writing on my calendar. Each day I spent at least 30 minutes convincing myself of the importance of working out when I preferred to do something, anything else.

Stick to workout schedule

Setting goals is easy. Doing the work is hard, especially when the payoff is not immediate. We can all get very creative when it comes to rationalizing why we should slack off. What do you do when you feel like quitting? Stop your head chatter and just start doing. The Champ, Muhammad Ali, once admitted he “hated every minute of training.”

I figure if “The Greatest” can hate training, I can detest those darn dumbbells. Now if anyone is looking for me, I’ll be in the gym.