I had an amazing day out yesterday with two friends that are far more successful and established in their writing careers than I am.

I’m a big fan of using your friends as mentors. Why idolize people you’ll never meet when you can harass your friends for hours on end!

My friend Corey is a magazine maven who is also working on a memoir, and my friend Katie is book-writing machine. Katie and I started out as actresses together, performing in an off-Broadway production of The Importance of Being Earnest, then we both became on-air hosts (she even appeared on The Daily Special a few times), and now she has multiple books under her belt and recently sold a two book series that she’s working on. Our joke is that we have exactly the same career path, she just does everything first and then tells me how to do it.

Since I’m new to the book writing world I decided to pick her brain about everything from when she takes bathroom breaks, how to circumvent procrastination, to establishing daily word count goals. She was a great sport about all my inane questions, but there was one gem that she doled out without prodding.

“Take care of yourself during this process. Eat healthy. Sleep well. Exercise daily.”

Now, those aren’t new ideas, but I get what she was saying. Stressful periods require a little TLC and sometimes that means focusing on the basics. It’s easy to forgo a daily workout to sit in front of the computer for an extra hour. It’s even easier to reach for a handful of jelly beans (OMG, the SweetTart Jelly beans that come out around Easter time are the best!) when you need a little energy, instead of hitting the kitchen for a well-balanced meal.

Her reminder brought me back to the time when I hosted The Daily Special and Pretty Imperfect and wrote daily for Elastic Waist, I was also working a full-time day job, and taking classes at night. I had never been so busy, and to get through it all I changed my outlook about food. I didn’t think about food in terms of calories, fat, or indulgences—I thought about food in terms of energy. I need to fuel my body in a way that would keep me energized without weighing me down.

It was the most freeing time in my food-ingesting life. Physically I felt amazing, and it was really a milestone in changing my perspective–seeing food in terms of potential, not good or bad.

I thought about that today as I made my meals. I made sure they were clean of processed ingredients, ample in the veggie department, and contained healthy fats. I didn’t focus on the protein to carbohydrate ratios or the  five-small-meals strategy I had adopted over the summer. For now, I’ll focus on the basics.

Breakfast


My favorite diner breakfast:
Egg white omelet with mushrooms, onions, spinach, and chives
Fruit salad
Multi-grain bread

Lunch


Salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, reduced fat feta, grilled chicken, and lemon vinaigrette

Dinner


Brown rice, roasted chickpeas, roasted squash and tomatoes
Grilled turkey breast
Tahini sauce

Exercise: Turbo Fire DVD: Fire 30 + Stretch 10