For whatever reason, I’ve always believed that the most successful, powerful and fulfilled people spend every moment of their lives working at the perfection of their craft. I now know that it was all just a big fat misconception, and I don’t know where it came from. Apparently even Steve Jobs slept sometimes.
To normal people, drizzly Winter weekend mornings call for extra long lie-ins (spooning), ugg boots and hot breakfasts. Usually on Saturday mornings I’m out of bed, fed and in my gym gear by 8am. Lately, however, I’ve been trying this new thing called Taking it Easy. It’s definitely something new. Since returning from Bali three weeks ago, I’ve been indulging in all sorts of wicked ‘normality’: Saturday just gone, I slept in until 9:15am. This is a huge accomplishment for me, and my boyfriend was pleasantly surprised when I was still in bed when he woke up. I awoke so refreshed and invigorated (also something new – I usually force myself out of bed in spite of exhaustion-induced delirium), and I didn’t even consider swapping my Peter Alexanders for Lorna Janes. Instead of my sports bra, I continued with no bra (not a fan of free-boobin’, as it turns out), and instead of runners, I slipped on my uggies. I made myself a tea, grabbed a blankie and… drum roll, please…
…switched on the TV.
After an all-too suspenseful episode of Pretty Little Liars (we’d already watched three the night before), my stomach was screaming at me. I reluctantly dragged myself off the couch and saw that it was 10:30am. Oh gosh, I would have usually done so much by now! But before any minions of guilt had time to march in and piss on my parade, I smiled to myself with contentment. I had far better things to do with my Saturday morning than race off to the gym. Like make baked eggs and snuggle with my two favourite boys (one far hairier and smellier than the other). I’M A CHANGED WOMAN!
The truth is that whilst in Bali, I had an epiphany.
When we arrived at our stunning three bedroom villa in Seminyak, my bliss was quickly and aggressively interrupted by My Biggest Fear. There was no gym. I was not okay about this, and I let my whole family know it.
Sister: “You’re on holidays, why the hell would you want to exercise? Holidays are for relaxing, you weirdo!”
Dad: “We’ve got a private pool, I’ll swim laps with you”
Mum: “YOU SHOULDN’T BE EXERCISING AT ALL WITH THAT HIP!”
Brother: “Ha-ha, you’re gonna get fat as”
I soon discovered that there was a state-of-the-art club just down the road among many other boutique gyms within walking range. Dad and I agreed to smash out a session the following morning. It never happened. When I woke up the next day, however, I was so incredibly relaxed and at-ease. The last thing I wanted to do was pump iron in an artificially-lit, air conditioned gym. So, I swam (vigorous) laps and did a body-weight circuit on the lawn instead, all in the privacy of our villa. By the end of it, I was stuffed and feeling awesome. I realised that if I did this every day, I would be getting more than enough exercise and would just go for a few casual visits to the gym to get some weights sessions in. Super! As each day of our two-week holiday passed, my laps got less vigorous and more leisurely, and my lawn circuits stopped altogether. Soon enough, my daily exercise regime consisted solely of walking to and from my beach lounge to fetch drinking coconuts. And I didn’t feel the slightest twinge of guilt. I realised that it was okay to be carefree, lazy and indulgent for a little while. I was shocked at how perfectly fine I became about moving less, sleeping in and eating more. I drowned myself in virgin mojitos, sunshine, tranquility, and culture, and forgot all about my dumbells and leg press. I should mention that one day, I did climb Mt. Batur, an exquisite active volcano. It was one of the most phenomenal and enriching experiences of my life so far.
Of course, I eased back into the gym and my usual eating patterns once I got home, but my exercise regime is definitely less rigid now. I really don’t think it’s such a bad thing. I can confidently say that just two weeks of deep thought and self-reflection abroad forced me to re-evaluate my views on exercise and fitness. I’m not about to go a week without exercising at all, but I no longer have to work out every single — or even every second — day to feel accomplished. Lately, if I really haven’t felt like going to the gym, I just won’t go, and I’ll take my dog for a leisurely walk instead. If I wake up exhausted on a weekend morning, I’ll do my best to switch my brain off (easier said than done) and go back to sleep. If I feel like watching a movie after an exhausting day at work instead of doing something ‘productive’, then I’ll let myself veg on the couch for a while and just relish in the delight of Doing Nothing.
For the purpose of dramatization, I’d love to say that I didn’t end up going to the gym last Saturday at all, but I’d be lying – I did end up squeezing in an arms and back session later that day. But, by incorporating a little bit of lazy (or normal) into my lifestyle, I’ve realised just this: sometimes, your body, mind and spirit deserve an internal vacay. You’re only doing yourself harm if you deny your mind, body and soul the rest and calm they crave. I now know that my fitness, ambitions and chances at future career success are not going to scamper away if I trade one gym session for a coffee date, an hour of research for the couch, or a few waking hours for a sleep in.
So, if you’re feeling a little self-indulgent and lazy this coming weekend, why not take some time out to whip up these baked eggs? This simple breakie requires next to no effort, and you can throw in whatever ingredients you feel like. What’s more, you can even watch Pretty Little Liars while it bakes away in the oven!
Country-Style Baked Eggs
- 2 large free range eggs, organic if possible
- a few large slices of lean ham
- 1 handful organic baby spinach, torn
- 5-7 cherry/mini roma tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbs chopped fresh chives
- fresh parsley
- fresh basil
- dried oregano/dried mixed herbs
- 1 tbs shaved parmesan (optional)
- fresh chili, sliced (optional)
- goat’s feta, to serve
Extra optional ingredients (for fellow diners who are less health-centric, like boyfriends):
- 1/2 chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
- grated tasty cheese
- tomato relish
- Preheat oven to 200*C. Line the bottom and edges of an individual ramekin with ham (I used three large slices).
- Fill the remekin with torn spinach, tomato, parmesan, chives and herbs. Create 2 wells and crack 2 eggs into them. To prevent losing the egg white between all the spinach, arrange the tomato halves so that they form a barrier around the little ‘wells’. This should help a bit.
- Sprinkle with fresh chili (if using), extra chives, herbs and cracked black pepper.
- Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the white is completely cooked. The yolks should still be slightly oozy, but keep an eye on them and be careful: as I’m sure you’re aware, there’s a very fine line between undercooked and overcooked eggs!
- Remove dish from the oven, crumble goat’s feta over the top, and sprinkle with extra fresh herbs if you desire. Remember that the eggs will continue to cook once they’re out of the oven, so serve immediately!
Note: to make my boyfriend’s baked eggs, I used a spoon to coat the ham inside the ramekin with relish, then added the sliced chorizo and tasty cheese with the other ingredients before cracking the eggs in. While I’d usually serve his with toast, he didn’t get it this time because he’d already devoured four slices with Nutella (more like Nutella with four slices) for “Breakfast Entree”. Typical.