Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weekly Weight-In Wednesday

So, in case you didn't notice, I missed posting my weigh-in for the last few weeks. Life has been crazy busy with sick kids and the holidays and life with a zillion kids and no sleep! I haven't made tons of progress weight-loss wise in the last few weeks, either...which hasn't been super exciting or inspiring....but I have to keep on keep'n on anyway!

For a brief re-cap: my last posting on Nov. 17, I had lost 4 pounds. (man, I would kill for a loss like that again!) The following week, Nov. 24 (the day before Thanksgiving,) I only lost 1/2 a pound. Then the next week, Dec. 1, I lost 1 whole pound....though that week did include Thanksgiving, so I was super pleased with my one pound loss. That brings us to today's weigh-in! I lost another whopping 1/2 pound. This brings me down to 145.5.

It's so crazy to think that 3 weeks ago my weight loss for one week totaled 2 pounds more than I have lost in the 3 weeks since!! It's crazy frustrating and sad....but this is real life I am dealing with here. Even though I have accomplished so much and lost so much weight and feel so much better physically, I still struggle. The issues that helped contribute to me being so over-weight in the first place have not just magically evaporated away with some of my fat; they are still there and still affecting me. When I am stressed out and/or missing out excessively on sleep it is worse. I also still have little freak out moments (sometimes moments last weeks...) where I feel like I can't possibly do this and, even if I do manage to succeed, there is no way I can possibly maintain this for the rest of my life! I freak out when I see super slim people at the gym working out for hours at a time (which I do now to lose the weight, but don't want to have to do for the rest of my life!) and hear them talk about never eating anything but "health" food. I freak out when I'm tired and stressed and all I want to do is put something in my mouth and chew it up and swallow it, then repeat. I freak out when I think about how easy it would be to slide back into my old ways of living. Freaking out is just so freak'n easy!!

I have to CONSTANTLY keep reminding myself that this is MY journey and MY life; comparing myself to others always leaves me with the short end of the stick and just serves to bring me down when I can't measure up. Me being and sustaining health through out the rest of my life will be what I need it to be and won't look like anyone else's life but my own. Right now, I really don't know exactly how it's all going to work for me. I do picture lots of hikes and bike rides and yoga with my daughters and rock climbing with my husband. I picture lots of yummy, whole foods and veggies and fruits as my main snacks. I know I will strength train at least twice a week (most likely at home once my gym membership is up) and continue working on becoming stronger and stronger. I know group sports and jogging are things I'd like to continue if not increase in my life as well. I know I will still need to use cardio equipment a few times a week to maintain my fitness level as much and how often I guess will have to be determined through trial and error.

But before I can find out what maintaining a healthy lifestyle looks like for me, I still have a way to go to reach my weight-loss goal. My goal originally was to get to 135...and then maintain my weight between 135 and 140 for the rest of my life. Now that I am only 10 pounds away from that goal, I think I need to go a bit lower than that because I still have a LOT of extra fat...more than 10 pounds worth. Although my new goal of 132 is only 3 pounds less, I feel like maintaining my weight between 130 and 135 is what is going to work for me. It'll be harder, but I think it's best.

I'm not exactly sure what I am going to do this week/month to give myself the little jolt (and kick in the rear) that I need to sprint to the finish line...but I'll find it....and I'll make it to that finish line!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday!

After going through a few days where I was dealing with having a bad attitude (feeling angry about "having" to eat healthy instead of feeling empowered, etc) I had a great week! I worked through those crappy few days and learned a lot about myself and what I want and what it takes to get what I want. Most of all, I need to constantly re-affirm to myself that I am NOT A WIMP if I don't want to be! :)

This little growth adventure helped spur some awesome workouts (well, my awesome trainer, Ami, helped with a few of those too!) and I've done some things I never really thought I could. Ami has me jumping rope and doing all sorts of cool and different things with weights and I have pushed myself with running/jogging on the treadmill and it feels good! :) I've also snuck in some extra cardio here and there which has been really nice and energizing!

So I lost 4 pounds this week! I am now in the fabulous 140's at 148 pounds!!! :) It's pretty darn exciting to only be 13 pounds away from my goal weight! I am planning on being to my goal weight of 135 around New Years. :) WOW....not one more year will be spent being obese or even over-weight! My body will not be anywhere near perfect, but I am so much healthier and happy than I was 5 months ago! It is so amazing how much can change in just 5 short months!

If you haven't started on your journey to better health, don't wait another day! Start NOW!! You have nothing to lose, and everything (and more) to gain!!! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday!!

So I lost the 3 pounds I needed to this week to reach my next goal weight!! That makes for a total of 50 pounds lost so far!! :) I figure I have about 15 or so more to loose, and then of course keep working out to continue to tone and build muscle!! It feels so good to be so close to my goal weight!! :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Anti-depressants anyone?

I have struggled with depression pretty much my entire life. It's a frustrating phenomenon that has, at times, controlled my life. I have felt helpless as it descended upon me with no warning and no clear departure date, to bring me down and squash my spirit without my permission. Over the years, I have worked hard to learn good coping techniques to minimize depressions affects and damage on my life. Really, struggling with depression has been the catalyst for lots of great personal growth and wonderful learning opportunities. At the same time, I have felt so frustrated that no matter how hard I tried, I still fell prey to it's power over me. Recently and joyfully, I have noticed that depression has not been a very large part of my life at all these past 3-4 months.

Everyone has heard or read that exercise and healthy eating are wonderful tools to combat depression. Like most people who have heard this, I have only given these anti-depressants a "try" for short periods of time...then feel justified in using the excuse "well, exercise and healthy eating didn't work for MY depression" when I lost my steam and stopped trying. This time, however, has been much different. I committed at the beginning of this journey to NEVER GIVE UP until I reached my goal! I gave myself permission to trust myself to actually follow-through....and I've followed through knowing I could not let myself down.

I was so happy to come to the realization that my healthy lifestyle has kept my depression at bay! I have always been wary of pharmaceutical anti-depressants and so have never taken any, while wondering in the back of my head if I was making the wrong choice and furthering my suffering. Now, however, I know that I have the power to create my own anti-depressant lifestyle by exercising religiously (i.e. regularly) and heating healthfully with minimal junk.

I know and accept I will still have "downs" and that, like an alcoholic, I will always have depression looming over me in some way. I also know that I will always have the tools necessary to minimize and quicken any episodes that creep in. That knowledge gives me plenty of another one of the best non-pharmaceutical anti-depressants out there: HOPE.

If you struggle with depression, I challenge you to take control of your happiness by changing your lifestyle to include more daily exercise, lots of fresh healthy foods and minimal junk. Change the way you live, don't just "try"!

A healthy lifestyle truly is the very best anti-depressant there is!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday

Using the self-timer and/or my 6 year old on roller skates, I tried (again...I've taken a lot that I wasn't pleased with) to get a few pictures that I felt showed my weight-loss. I know we are our own worst critic, so it goes without saying that I am not totally pleased with the pictures, but I think you can see some progress. I have to admit, I have been disappointed all day since weighing myself this morning. To be fair, I started being in a less than stellar mood last night, but I was actually really looking forward to weighing in this week and expected more than I got.
In spite of Halloween and my husband being out of town (I tend to eat more when he's gone...) I still thought I did okay. And I suppose I did, but I am not that thrilled with my meager 1/2 pound loss since last week. Oh well. It seems I loose a bunch one week, then sometimes the following week I barely loose.

A loss is still a loss, though, and I know I'm still making good progress. I am officially a size 10 now! :) That feels so good! My 12's were falling off, and the 10's are snug, but not unbearably so. And my "new" (as in second-hand) shirts are size medium!!!
I have exactly 20 pounds left to loose. I am looking forward to getting on with maintaining (i.e. exercising a little less and eating a tiny bit more!) but need to stay on course until I get there. I think, too, that it's time to re-vamp my exercise a bit and work even harder. I am going to try running a mile a few times a week after my regular workout and add a few walks/hikes with the family a week. I am also going to try to shave off 100 calories a day....which I am NOT excited about. I have to admit that I just LOVE to eat...I think about my meals and snacks all day long. I look forward to going to bed because it means when I wake up, I get to eat breakfast! :) I was going to shave that 100 calories off my afternoon snack (my only snack of the day since I now workout in the morning)...but my snack is only 200 calories to begin with and I REALLY need that 200 calories every afternoon!! So I think I am going to shave 50 off of breakfast and quit the small amount of grazing I have allowed myself to pick back up again. Grazing is such a hard habit to break!!! A few handfuls of dry cereal here and there (dry cereal is soooooo one of my big weaknesses!) or a few chocolate chips or a small bite every once in a while of my kid's food seems to add up to more calories than I estimate! So no more. We'll see if that helps!! :) I am hoping to be down to my next goal of 152 next week! That will put me at an even 50 pounds lost!!! I really, really hope to see that number, so I am going to work hard!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Super Simple Mexican Chicken

I really couldn't think of a good name for this probably has a name...if you know it, feel free to let me know! :)

This meal was SUPER simple and SUPER yummy!!

Super Simple Mexican Chicken

2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can black beans
1/2 jar salsa

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook until chicken shreds (about 6 hours on medium.) Chop a handful of fresh cilantro and mix it in after you shred the chicken.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. I put the shredded chicken mixture on top of a small bed of brown rice and topped with a very small amount of shredded cheese, fresh chopped green onion and tomato and a dollop of fat-free sour cream. For a little crunch, I simply put a few corn tortillas on the rack in my oven and cooked them until crispy, no salt or oil required!

As a side note, I put some of the left-over shredded chicken in some left-over butternut squash soup and the combo was DELICIOUS!!

Budgeting: It's Not Just For Your Bank Account!

I had a yummy lunch today with my husband and a few kids at an Italian restaurant. Some people who are "dieting" and trying to loose weight might have a small cow knowing what I ate, however...I believe that no food is totally off-limits. I have believed this and lived this through the whole 47 pounds I have lost so far and will live it for the rest of my life. I sort of feel like "what's the point in being thin if I can't ever eat yummy food?" So today at lunch, I enjoyed a few pieces of bread dipped in olive oil (GASP! CARBS! She ate CARBS!) and even had a slice of my daughter's pizza! I did, however, eat only a bowl of minestrone soup and took my 1/2 sandwich (sauce on the side) home in a to-go box for lunch tomorrow.

Over the past few months I have also eaten lots of pizza (homemade and take-out!), enjoyed a few ice cream cones (low-fat in a plain cone, of course,) some dark-chocolate chips here and there, a cookie every once in awhile and even some cake! It's all about budgeting! Today, since I know I ate more than the 300 calories I budget for myself for lunch every day, I am going to skip my afternoon snack (which is usually around 200 calories.) In planning to go out for lunch, I also ate about 150 less calories for breakfast. So even though I "indulged" a bit, I am still on budget for my daily calorie intake and still made pretty healthy choices in the process (drank only water and lots of it, chose a broth based soup full of veggies and beans and saved the rest of my meal for tomorrow.)

Budgeting calories won't only help with weight-loss, it is key in maintaining a healthy weight for life!

Now to think of a way to budget in some yummy Halloween candy this weekend!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday!!

Last week I weighed 160....this morning I weighed 155.5! A loss of 4.5 pounds!! Wow, and I was feeling pretty darn nervous! I figured out one reason why I have lost more than average the last few weeks....I started working out in the mornings now. I used to go work out as soon as my husband got home from work. It was hectic, to say the least! He would walk in the door, I would finish nursing the baby and then pass him off to his Daddy along with instructions on how to finish up dinner then tell him and all the kids good-bye. I wouldn't get home until bedtime for the little kids! It was just very stressful. So I decided to dig into my budget a bit and sign up for child care. Now I go every morning and I LOVE it! I get it done first thing and then can shower and enjoy the rest of my day! I can actually cook yummy, healthy meals for my family and, BONUS! actually get to eat it with them!! The kids have fun going to the child care, too. So, back to why working out in the morning has facilitated greater weight loss...I used to eat a mid-morning snack of about 200 calories. Since I am working out now at my previous snack time, I am naturally eating about 200 calories less each day than I used to!

It feels so awesome to be in the 150's....and I poured myself into some size 10 jeans today!!!

It's still a struggle at times to stay on top of it all....especially with eating. But I am now in the habit of not giving myself permission to fail; it's not even an option and that feels good!! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday

So I wasn't expecting to loose any weight this week (see previous post) but, very happily, I lost 3 pounds!! I now weigh 160!! I am soooooooooooo excited to enter the 150's this week!!!! I only have 25 pounds until my goal weight of 135! :) I honestly never thought that goal could be so attainable and tangible. I guess I never expected to work for it. I must've had pretty darn low expectations for myself for YEARS! That's kind of sad. I'm glad I am not in that space anymore. Now, I feel like any goal I want, all I have to do is work for it and it's mine! :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

An End To The Four Day Break.

This last week, I over-worked my calves to the extent that I could barely walk for several days. Today was day4 and the first day that I was not in excruciating pain and could actually walk around. Because of this, I didn't work out on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Because I was not in the "work-out mode," I did not eat as well as I should. I don't expect to loose any weight this week, but I think I needed this little break. I have lost almost 40 pounds relatively quickly and I think I was starting to freak out a bit. It's a bit scary for me to think about not being fat anymore. Weird? Probably. Normal? Probably. I think we all carry extra weight for a reason; very few of us are fat just because we love food....most of us have have either used food or even used our fat as a crutch as we hobble through our various emotional issues. Every day of this journey toward health and wellness has felt a bit precarious to me; like standing on the edge of a precipice. If I stepped too far in the wrong direction (i.e. too many calories and/or not enough exercise) then I would fall to my doom (i.e. fattville.) I was beginning to feel like a victim again. "Poor Heidi can't eat this or that or even that. Poor Heidi can't miss a day of working out or else she'll be fat forever," etc, etc, etc. Taking this bit of a break to just breathe, appreciate where I am compared to where I was and to remember what I ultimately want has helped me to refocus and recommit to my goals.
I now feel invigorated to dig in and work hard again. I have been sort of slacking here and there (which has caused several weeks of either no weight loss or very little) and I am ready to quit being a slacker! I am going to be in total control again and work hard. I don't really have any trouble working hard at the gym (I actually really enjoy working out,) but I really have to focus and be committed to working hard when it comes to food. This week, I am going to work at calories and eating more veggies. My goal is to have breakfast and lunch each 300 calories, then two snacks around 200 calories each then dinner around 500 calories. I am going to resort to measuring things so I know for sure how many calories I am consuming...and looking up some things on the Internet (like how many calories in a cup of grapes, for instance.) I'm hoping that being super disciplined with food this week will help to empower me to make better choices and get me through the next 3 or 4 months of loosing. Then, hopefully, I will be at my target weight and can work on maintenance!!! How exciting that will be!!! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday!

Last week I weighed 164.5...this week I weighed 163. So a loss of 1.5 pounds. Not a HUGE number, but still a good, solid loss. I was really hoping to get to my next goal weight of 162, but I am content to see that number next week. :)

I'm still just chugging along, working out 6 days a week and staying in my daily calorie range (1500-2000 a day since I am breastfeeding.) I still have really challenging times when I feel close to the edge and want to scream because I want some cookies so bad! :) But I try to distract myself (and brush and floss my teeth!) and it goes away for a time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday!

Last week I was 169.5, this week I weighed 164.5! :) 5 pounds lost and I even missed a couple of workouts in a row for the first time in almost 3 months....but we did re-arrange a few rooms in our house, so that burned a whole lotta calories! :) I am 2 pounds away from 40 pounds total weight lost!! :)

My trainer that I work out with 2 times a week at the gym, Ami, has stepped up my workouts. She is such an awesome trainer! I totally needed the vamped up workouts and I didn't even have to say anything...she just knew. :)

I am also finally starting to feel much thinner! I can see definition in my legs and arms! I bought a size 12 pants!! I have actually never been a size 12; I went from being a size 6/8 to a size 16/18 during my first pregnancy. The other times I have lost weight, I never got below a size pulling on those size 12's feels sooooooooo good!!! :) I can only imagine how good the 10's will feel...hopefully I will know that feeling first hand next month!

Monday, October 4, 2010

How awesome it feels to have taken charge and gotten healthy!

I am a 32 year old mother of 7 homeschooled kids and a wife of 13 years. Even though I was a healthy size 6 when we married, I have spent about 12 of those 13 years being 60 pounds or more overweight. Three months ago I decided I did not want to waste one more year of my life being fat and unthealthy so I joined Gold's Gym, signed up with a personal trainer and committed to work hard to make sure that not even one more month would be wasted.

Even though it has been a real challenge at times, doing the work to become healthy and loose weight has been so worth it! I may still feel pretty darn tired (going to bed at a decent time would probably be the remedy for that one!) but I feel so much more energetic and motivated! I used to call to my kids while sitting on the couch, now I don't think anything of running up and down the stairs to actually speak to them in person! Since I've increased my muscle strength, I can move the piano across the room by myself and hold my own while helping my husband lift heavy things. I can actually see a few of my muscles now, too!

As I've taken charge of my health and made proactive decisions to loose weight, I've naturally taken charge of other aspects of my life as well! My house is cleaner, I tackle projects more readily and my relationships have improved. Learning to budget my calories every day has even proved helpful when budgeting my bank account! Forcing myself to be self-disciplined with my eating and with regular exercise has taught me how strong and capable I really am. I know that any goal I set out to achieve, I can and will achieve!

I believe my husband now when he tells me I look cute. My body feels so much stronger and healthier than it did 35 pounds ago! I still have about 30 more pounds to loose, but my success thus far has given me the courage and confidence to continue on this path and that makes me so hopeful and excited for my future!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday

So last week I weighed 169. This morning I weighed......169.5!! UGH!! I actually gained half a pound. I didn't do as well as I should've with my eating (hello stress!) but I don't feel like I did badly enough to actually gain half a pound! Especially since I still worked my butt off at the gym! GEEZ! I am disappointed to say the least.

Maybe my body is getting used to my cardio workouts...maybe I need to switch things up a bit by adding more. Maybe I'll start going for a few long walks/hikes with the kids during the week. Maybe I'll do 20 minutes on my recumbent bike at home before I go to bed.

I definitely need to recommit to my healthy eating. Even though I don't eat nearly as much as I did before I started loosing weight, I have really slacked off this week. I also need to get back on the veggie train....I have not done a very good job of eating my fruits and especially veggies this past month, which probably equates to me eating more carbs. So that has to change.

I was really hoping to see 167 this week. :( Maybe next week I'll see that number!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday!

Last week I weighed 174.5 and this morning I weighed 169!!! :) A loss of 5.5 pounds!! Deep cleaning your house really burns a LOT of calories, apparently!

I am so excited! I haven't been in the 160's since I was pregnant with my first baby 12 years ago! So sad, I know, that a "low" weight for me was during a pregnancy! :( But that is the pregancy that I gained over 60 pounds and never lost any of that is the bulk of the weight tha I have held onto for all these years.

I am getting really excited now....just 30 more pounds to loose!!!! :) Half-way there!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday

Last week I weighed 176.5. This morning I weighed 174.5. A loss of 2 pounds. :) I'll take it!

This was a much harder week for me...I struggled a lot. I asked my hubby if I was happier back when I used to eat junk food.....sometimes I wonder! Now that my emotional critch (junk food) is gone, I am having to develop new coping tools and this week I did not do that very well...thus extreme grumpiness and self-pity ensued!

Getting a more normal amount of sleep this week should help. :)

And I need to stop giving myself permission to feel sorry for myself. Yes...I am loosing weight and getting healthier everyday but feel sorry for myself that I can't eat junk! Weird, I know. I'm working on it! :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday!

This morning I weighed 176.5!! Last week I weighed 181.5....5 whole pounds! I guess landscaping the backyard burns a whole lotta calories!! :) Just a few more weeks and I will be to my next goal of 172 and will have lost 30 pounds! :)

Woohoo for yard work and hauling pea gravel! :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Super Secret Weight-Loss Plan!

The super secret way to loose all the weight you want is....not a secret at all! The only way to loose weight, no matter what "diet" or exercise plan you subscribe to, is really very simple; burn more calories than you consume. That's it. No special formula, no super secret tips...simply burn more calories on a regular basis than you consume.

You need to burn about 3500 extra calories to loose one pound of fat. On the flip side, you ate about 3500 extra calories to gain each extra pound of fat you carry.

A healthy goal is to aim for loosing 1-2 pounds a week. That works out to burning an extra 500-1000 calories a day and/or cutting out 500-1000 calories from your regular diet. It's really that simple.

Here is a great list of 20 activities and how many calories they burn. Here is a list of a whole ton more!

Here is an awesome article from the CDC about how to make simple substitutions to cut calories in your every day diet.

Check out this great website about calories for more great information about how to lose weight...without any secrets!

It is really for reals and everything!

For the past 12 years, I have been fat. During those 12 years, I have always planned on loosing weight. Always. There have been a few times where I have lost weight, and even then, I always planned to loose loose all the extra weight.

My planning has included doing things like buying clothes in smaller sizes (since I planned on fitting into them soon, it would be ridiculous to buy clothes in my actual size!) and having plenty of "eat-all-you-want" weekends since I was planning on starting my new, healthy lifestyle soon!

Planning to loose weight for all these years has gotten me a few tubs full of now outdated clothes that I have really never worn in sizes I have never really been since BTF (Before The Fat,) and plenty of extra pounds enjoying those "last" binge weekends!

After years and years of planning but never really doing, I find myself sort of assuming that this time is just more "planning." I have to actually pinch myself and remember that, "Hey! You are REALLY making this happen! This time is different!"

It feels so good to have quit planning and to actually be on the road to loosing weight and becoming super healthy!! It feels really good to know I have continued to work hard and stick to my plan! It's awesome to think I have already lost 20 pounds....and now only have about 40 to go! It also feels a little scary.

This journey of changing my life for the better is not what comes easy to me. It is not my natural state to think about the food I put in my mouth. It takes dedication and effort to get to the gym every day and work out my hardest.

This process and journey is scary because it requires trust: I have to trust myself to stick with it...I have to have faith that I will. That may sound silly since I am the one in charge of my choices, but I am not really the most consistent person on the planet!! I make lots of totally awesome, rock'n plans....and then let those plans fall through after short periods of time.

Don't get me wrong, I am SUPER committed to loosing ALL the extra weight and being SUPER healthy and strong!!!!!!! I am NOT going to give up!! I am going to be on this journey until I reach my goals...then continue on in the land of Healthtopia for the rest of my life and never allow myself to become unhealthy again!!

I can trust myself.

And, I'm really doing it! I'm really, actually loosing weight and sticking to it! :) I wonder how much longer I will have to remind myself of this fact!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday

So last week I weighed I weigh 181.5. I lost a whole half of a pound. Woo.

It was an "off" week. I had to cut a few workouts a bit short due to time constraints. It was also one of my kids' birthdays and we made 3 different treats for him and ordered pizza. Although I did better with eating than I would've before I started my health journey, I still over-indulged more than I should've. A half of a pound lost is still a I need to feel happy about that! I need to step it up a bit this week and make more happen! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday!

Last week my weight was it's 182!!!! I lost 4.5 ponds!! AND, I reached my first goal! I'm so excited! Hopefully by this time next week, I will be in the 170's and out of the 180's FOREVER!! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Emotional eating no more!

It's a well known fact that people eat more junk food when they are tired. For me, over 12 years straight of being pregnant and/or breastfeeding combined with getting up during the night with babies + getting up early with toddlers + kids who need me to stay up at night until they fall asleep + staying up late to get stuff done while kids sleep = a whole lot of chronic and BIG tiredness!! I have gotten used to being tired all the time; it's now the "norm" for me and I don't usually let it get in my way. I do attribute, however, a lot of my weight gain to eating out of exhaustion and stress.

I am having to work really hard to combat the years and years that I used food as my coping mechanism; it gave me a temporary energy boost and helped me "escape" my stress momentarily. Also, a lot of the foods that are easy to grab and eat when you only have one hand free (because the other hand is cradling a fussy baby or toting around a clingy toddler) are junk foods...chips, cookies, crackers, bits of brownie, handfuls of dry cereal, bagels, etc...all things that don't require any preparation (washing, slicing, cooking, etc) and are finger foods. Those foods have been a mainstay for me over the years. This is how I got to be where I am...and even heavier!

My heaviest weight was around 220!! 7 years ago I decided, for the first time since becoming overweight with my first pregnancy, that it was silly to go on being so fat! I lost about 45 pounds in 4 months. Then, I took a hiatus on my health journey for 3 years and managed to keep 20 of those pounds off during 2 more pregnancies and births. I again got serious about my weight and lost the other 20-25 pounds once more. After an ankle injury and another pregnancy, I gained those 20 pounds back again; the lovely diet yo-yo that we all know and hate! I am happy that I changed enough to keep the remaining 20 pounds off permanently, though! But, I still had the habit of grabbing those junk foods and grazing in between meals to try and combat the vicious cycle of stress and exhaustion. Changing this now has, so far, been the hardest part of my health journey. Habits are hard things to break; especially habits you are so emotionally tied to!

I have done a lot of self-talk to change my thinking. When I really want to grab a handful of crackers or bake a batch of cookies, I tell myself, "that is not really what you want! You want to be healthy and fit!" It's HARD! Some days, like today, I feel like throwing a big ol' fit complete with flailing on the floor, kicking my legs, pounding my fists and yelling "it's not fair!!!" I have to remind myself food is not going to help me to feel better. Food is not going to rescue me from my stress or exhaustion. Food is not going to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, make kids more compliant or rock the fussy baby to sleep! Food is not a crutch of mine anymore! I am too strong and too healthy to need crutches!! I am the one who decides whether my day is happy or crappy! Food is there to nourish my body; to make me stronger and more capable of living my life to the fullest...not a selfish friend who could care less and brings me down in the end....not anymore!

Boy, I sure came close to succumbing to my old habit today! It was a busy day, the baby was fussy and wouldn't nap and my toddler was not feeling well....and I am hungry!! I came scarily close to skipping my workout (which I did at home instead of the gym because of the late hour) and making a batch of cake batter to eat while watching a movie instead. Really...I was so close! But I stuck it out. I refused to give in. I knew I couldn't give up! I was angry that I couldn't give up! I was angry I couldn't do what I wanted to do; what was easier and more familiar.

If I had given in to that temptation, I would not feel very good about myself right now. Sure, it would've been just one night, one time, blah, blah, blah....but it would've been me using a crutch I knew I didn't need. It would've been me giving in to weakness and it would've been me being whimpy. I don't want to be weak and whimpy. I want to be strong! I want to be determined! I want to succeed!!!! I WILL SUCCEED!

Needless to say, even though the cake batter would've tasted yummy, being strong tastes even better!

Weigh-In Wednesday!

Okay, so technically today is Thursday...but I did weigh-in yesterday! I just didn't get a chance to blog it.

Last week I weighed 188. This week I weighed 186.5. So a pound and half loss. I was bummed about it. I know I should be happy for any loss...any loss is making progess toward my goal! I was just feeling irritated that I am working so dang hard and changing so much, and seeing baby progress. I want to see big, huge, GIANT progess!!! :) I know it will come. I know by continuing on this road and following the plan that this same time next year I will probably be at my goal weight and feeling awesome. :) I have to just keep chugg'n along!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tip Tuesday!!

Drinking enough water every day is important any time in your life, but did you know that it can help you loose weight?
Hunger pangs and thirst pangs feel quite similar, so it's easy to get the two confused. Many times when we are feeling "snacky," all our body really needs is some water! Try drinking a glass of water every time you feel you need a snack. If, after 10 minutes, you still feel hungry, have a nutritious snack. Then drink another glass of water to make that snack feel even more satisfying!
Some studies suggest that your metabolism is boosted 3%, simply by drinking more water!
Water helps your body function properly and more smoothly. It helps rid your body of toxins and helps your muscles get the oxygen and nutrients they need to be stronger and healthier.
Water helps all systems in your body get more oxygen, thus helping you to feel more energized!
You need to consider a few different things when determining how much water your body needs every day. A general rule to follow is 1 ounce of water for every 2lbs of body weight. Adjust that amount according to how much physical activity you participate in and the temperature of the day.
I drink between 90-120 ounces a day and feel much better now compared to when I used to drink less! :) I use a big, 30 ounce cup with a straw. I keep it filled with ice water on my counter and sip from it all day long.
Benefits of drinking water:
-helps to regulate your appetite
-increase your metabolism
-boost your energy levels
-prevent or alleviate some headaches
-high blood pressure
-reduce cholesterol
-less water retention
-ease joint pain
-less chance of developing kidney stones
-releases toxic waste products
-improves skin

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Take the Bull By the Horns!

It's amazing how taking control of one area of my life, leads me to take control in others!

Since I stopped being so wimpy about my health and fitness and started being more disciplined, I have naturally become more responsible with many other areas of my life. Woohoo! Not only do I feel and look better, my whole life is improving!

Being proactive and in control of my eating has shown me a few things; first of all, it's not a big, hairy, scary, hard thing to be more disciplined! It actually makes me feel more powerful and especially more capable! Going without all the *yummy*, fattening things I was used to eating has shown me that I can do without and be just as happy and just as satisfied. That feeling has leaked over into my financial world; more things aren't what is going to make me happy...I am the only thing that can make me more happy!

Following through with my commitment to work out 6 days a week has opened my eyes to the fact that, if I really want something, I can make anything happen! No excuses for not keeping the dishes done anymore! No reason to have a messy, disorganized home! If I want it, all I need to do is make it happen!

Pushing myself to my physical limits while working out has proven to me that I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined! I can do REALLY hard things and survive! I can do scary things and survive! Even more, if feels GOOD to push myself out of my happy, comfy little bubble of a comfort zone! That empowering feeling has me looking forward to the future and what other things I will push myself to achieve!

It is exciting to me that I feel this way...and it's only been a few months! There were so many things in my life that I was not happy with. I couldn't really seem to figure out how to keep my kitchen clean. I was frustrated that no matter how much we made, we still lived paycheck to paycheck. I felt like my worries and anxieties were making too many of my decisions, and I didn't know how to change that. Now I have hope! :) I know things are going to get better and better because I have changed...I am no longer allowing myself to be wimpy. I am the one in charge of my life. I will take the bull by the horns and make GREAT things happen!

What will you do?

Garbonzo Bean Brownies!!

Most of the recipes I found for Garbanzo Bean Brownies involved adding more than a cup of white sugar! So, I tweaked a few different recipes to come up with the following recipe.

2 c garbanzo beans (approx. 1 can) rinsed and drained
4 eggs
1 1/2 c dark chocolate chips (I used 60% cocoa) melted*
3/4 c honey
1/2 t baking powder

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl by heating them for approximately 60 seconds. Don't over-heat! The chips will still be holding their "chip" shape even when they are fully melted, so stir to test for meltedness! Blend the remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add the melted chips and blend. Pour into a lightly greased 9x9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I would suggest checking them at about 15 minutes, though.

These brownies were very chocolaty and moist! My kids gobbled them right up! Lots of yummy protein! :)

*I don't like the added sugar from the chocolate chips...maybe I'll tweak it again and see what I can come up with!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How I am Living "The Plan" and Loosing Weight!

Plans always look great on paper (huh, or the computer screen!) but how does it look in real life?

Below is a short explanation of how I am applying "The Plan" to my life:

I have cut way back on the carbs I was eating...not because I think carbs are evil or I think a low-carb "diet" is the way to go, because I believe the complete opposite! Whole grain carbs are great for your body and you really need them to be healthy!! Actually, like most of us, I was unaware of just how many servings of carbs I was eating a day!! I would say that now I eat about 4-6 servings of 100% whole grain carbs a day.

I usually eat a small (again, paying attention to actual serving sizes) bowl of whole grain, low-sugar cereal with skim milk.

A few hours later, I usually have a snack...maybe a few eggs scrambled up with a bunch of veggies or a yogurt, etc.

For lunch I usually eat a sandwich (using reduced calorie bread which is really just bread that doesn't have as much sugar in it and is sliced thinner) or a wrap with some protein and lots of veggies in it or a small portion of left-overs, etc.

A few hours later, I have another snack...probably some fruit and a piece of dry toast with a few teaspoons of almond butter on it.

For dinner, I choose a low-fat protein and add as many veggies as possible to our meal. I am being a lot more careful, again, of portion sizes. Remember that a portion of most lean meats is about the size of a deck of cards. I don't have seconds...unless it's on veggies. :)

Most nights, I don't eat anything after dinner. I brush my teeth at 8pm so I won't be tempted to eat anything else for the night.

I keep a bowl of washed grapes on the counter all day long. I am a grazer....I need something to graze on! :) Sometimes, I will pop a bowl of plain popcorn (air-popped, no butter or salt) and leave it out on the counter too. Air popped popcorn is very good for you. :)

I exercise 6 days a week without fail. It's just what I's how I am going to reach my destination! I do 60 minutes of cardio in my target heart rate each of those 6 days. I strength train with a trainer 2 days a week, and one additional day on my own. I do ab/core exercises every day.

I bake a healthy treat on the weekends.

My goal is to drink 90 ounces of water a day. I am breast-feeding, so this may be an abnormally high amount...I think the average person should shoot for about 60 ounces a day. I use the big water mug that I got at the hospital when my last baby was born almost 4 months ago. I keep it full on the counter all day long.

I make it a point to fill my cart at the grocery store with lots of healthy things....especially fresh fruits and veggies!! As I'm walking through the store, I look at my cart and decide if everything in it meets my healthy requirements...if it doesn't, I put it back.

My husband knows I do NOT want him to buy any junk!! He is pretty good at complying. :)

That's basically what "The Plan" looks like for me! What about you? How are you living a healthier life?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Full Disclosure Friday!

Loosing weight is hard! Some days, I have to try REALLY hard to have a positive attitude about it.

I don't love working out, though I do love how I feel after I've done it!

I don't love eating healthier, but I do love knowing that I am giving my body the nutrients it needs and I do love not feeling blobby and guilty after eating a ton of junk!

Thinking about how long I am going to be on this road of weight-loss is over-whelming! I have a LOT more weight to loose. That's why I am trying to just think of it in 10 pound increments...10 pounds is not so daunting! I am, of course, going to be on this road longer than it takes to loose the weight...I will exercise and eat healthfully for the rest of my life, but it's more intense now since I have to loose, not just maintain.

It's easy to feel like I am all alone on this journey. I look around and see lots of people eating whatever they want and doing whatever they want. I see a lot of that, if that is what I look for. When I look for fellow Healthtopians, I find lots of those too; people's carts at the grocery store filled with veggies, friends who serve air-popped popcorn, grapes and smoothies at GNO, the neighbor who religiously walks her dogs twice a day, the hoards of people out on the sidewalks in the evening of a beautiful day: there really are a lot of people who are making wonderful health choices each and every day. I guess I need to look for them more and feel sorry for myself less!

I guess I struggle the most with this journey on days when I allow myself to feel sorry for myself....sorry that I can't eat what I want when I want....sorry that I can't just skip a day of working out and be lazy. When I choose, instead, to feel empowered by my opportunities and healthy choices, I have a much better day!! I need to refocus and choose empowerment more often!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In Wednesday!

Weighing myself every day or two is just not working out for me. I am switching over to weighing in once a week and would love it if some of you would like to join me!! :)

This morning I weighed in at 188. (wow, I am a little anxious about putting out my numbers so publicly, but it's all for the greater good!) I lost 3 pounds this week! :) That's the most I've lost in one week since I started working out (at 195 pounds) 4 weeks ago!

When I started this weight-loss journey, I weighed a whopping 202. That was about 8 or 9 weeks ago. So my total weight-loss thus far is 14 pounds! :)

I feel a lot better since starting to live more healthfully and especially since I started working out every day. I feel better physically...I have more energy and drive and feel stronger. I also feel better emotionally and mentally...more in control, content and happy with myself. :)

If you have not committed yourself to a healthier lifestyle yet, I strongly encourage you to do it right now! There is no reason to wait another month, another day, or even another minute not working toward being healthier and feeling better!

If you'd like to join me in my weekly weigh-in (which I hope you will....) then either leave your weigh-in in the comments or link us to your blog if you have one!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reward yourself for your weight-loss!!

Yes, less fat is reward enough, BUT...why not squeeze in even more things to look forward to?!?

I am going to give myself some great incentives to stay on track and keep on loosing by setting some goals with a reward as each goal is met. :)

My first goal weight is 182. When I reach that goal, I am going to get my hair cut and highlighted!

My next goal weight is 172. When I reach that goal, I am going to buy a new book or two!

My next goal weight is 162. When I reach that goal, I am going to get a pedicure!

My next goal weight is 152. When I reach that goal, I am going to buy some cute, new workout clothes!

My next goal weight is 142. When I reach that goal, I am going to get a facial!

My final goal weight is 135. When I reach my final goal, I am going to buy myself a new wardrobe!!


A reward system is going to help me to feel my progress in a more tangible, celebratory way. :) It gives me something to look forward to other than just numbers on the scale. It also helps me organize and define my goals in a way that makes my ultimate task of loosing over 60 pounds less scary and daunting. Some people give themselves just one or two smaller goals within their larger, ultimate goal...say every 20 or 25 pounds. I decided that having my goals set at every 10 pounds would help me stay motivated the best. 10 pounds is totally attainable and within my reach!

Your goals don't have to be numbers on the scale, either. You could choose clothing sizes, or fitness level goals (running up a flight of stairs without being totally out of breath, for instance.)

Whatever your goals are, write them down and read them often. And tack on a special non-food related "treat" as a special reward when each goal is attained! It'll help you stay focused, motivated and on-track to your ultimate goal of health and fitness!

It's good to be regular. ;)

Sorry for those of you who were hoping, but this is not a post about fiber. :)

Though fiber is very good for you, this is a post about regularity on this blog; which does not involve more fiber.

In addition to recipes and other random posts, you can now expect:

Tip Tuesdays
Weigh-In Wednesdays
Full-Disclosure Fridays

Exciting. I know. Stay tuned for all the good, fun stuff ahead!

Monday, August 9, 2010

It Ain't Just a River in Egypt!

We're talk'n about DENIAL, here people! And boy have I been living in it! I had no clue I was, which I guess is why it's denial!

I have always used whole grains and we drink skim milk. We haven't regularly eaten things like Pop-Tarts, Eggo's or Lucky Charms for breakfast. We really only drank soda once a week for family movie night or when we shopped at Sam's Club....these things all led me to believe I had a pretty healthy diet.

Tonight while strolling through the grocery section of Wal-Mart, it finally dawned on me that in fact, no...I have not been as healthy an eater as I had thought I was all these years. I really have considered myself a fat person who ate mostly healthy.....which is a total contradiction; how could you become fat if you ate a healthy diet?

Since starting "The Plan" about 6 weeks ago, there are quite a few things I have changed about the way my family and I eat. For example, we used to eat take-out or fast food about once a week (more during stressful weeks...) Restaurant food has soooooooooooo much fat and calories!! You can easily and quickly consume more than a whole days worth of calories in one meal! And still have left-overs!! I never really thought much about it and always justified the meal by saying things like "it's just a really stressful day" or "I need a break" to myself.

In thinking more deeply about how we used to eat I realized even more things we used to do that were way less than healthy! We used to have tortilla chips with every mexican-ish meal we ate. Realistically, each of us would eat a couple of servings worth of chips at said meals...that is a LOT of fat and calories. We also used to have chips around to eat with sandwiches. I have a *special* weakness for chips so never really even considered not having them! I sort of thought of it as my reward for working so hard! Extra fat jiggling around on your thighs, as it turns out, is really not such a nice reward. We used to not eat very many fruits or veggies. I would have days where I ate a lot of veggies or a weekend when we snacked on fruit, but it was never a consistent part of our diet. It has always been a pain to try and get the kids to eat fruit and veggies, so I avoided the battle....never really considering that I should lead by example. Also, I used to get myself a special snack when I ran errands without the kids. It made me feel like I was getting a special treat and like it made my time alone even more relaxing and rewarding. Again, adding more cellulite is really not the most special alone time activity!

There are a LOT of others ways I have changed the way we eat. I think it just never really hit me how drastic and different these changes have been until this evening in Wal-Mart. I saw a lot of over-weight people pushing carts full of food that is KEEPING them over-weight and unhealthy. Suddenly, I felt empowered with the knowledge that my choices and the food in my cart are leading me down a road toward health and fitness. It hit me that, YES! I am really doing this! I am really, finally changing what needs to be changed! I am no longer in denial about my "healthy" lifestyle! I am ACTUALLY living a healthy lifestyle!! For reals!!

I spent most of last week feeling very angry (thus the lack of posting...) I was angry that I had to change; angry that I couldn't eat what I would like to eat; angry that it's not okay to be fat; angry that I was hungry but it was too late in the evening to eat; angry that it was so easy to get so fat; angry that getting healthy is such hard work; angry to have put myself in a position where I have so much weight to loose; angry that Doritos have so many calories...the anger was strong!

Tonight, now that I have fully realized where I have been (living a pretty unhealthy lifestyle,) I feel happy! I feel happy that I have finally taken control; happy to be able to change; happy to have the support of my husband and family; happy to have the knowledge I need to make healthy choices; happy and hopeful for the progress I've made and the great progress I know I will make; happy that I can trust myself to continue on the path to health and fitness; happy to be proud of myself for working hard! :) And oh so happy to no longer be in denial!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Veggie Frittata

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day! I like breakfast foods so much, that I often have them for lunch and dinner, too! This is a quick, yummy recipe filled with lots of fresh veggies and plenty of protein!

You'll need:

8-12 eggs
3/4 c skim milk
1 tsp olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 an onion
1/2 a bell pepper
1 large broccoli crown
1/2 yellow squash
a generous handful of baby spinach leaves
2 medium sized potatoes
4 strips turkey bacon OR 2 links lean turkey sausage
1/2 c shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

First, as your olive oil heats up in an oven-safe skillet, slice the potato into thin pieces and then add to your skillet. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper. As they are cooking, dice garlic, onion and bell pepper and add to potatoes, stirring often. Next, add the turkey bacon or sausage, diced into small pieces. When the potatoes begin to feel tender, add the broccoli and squash after it has been cut up into bite sized pieces (make sure to include the broccoli stem, too!) Stir often. While this is cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk and finely chopped spinach in a separate bowl with some salt and pepper. Feel free to substitute egg whites for some of the whole eggs. Once the potatoes are completely done cooking, shake skillet a bit to even out veggie mixture then pour egg mixture on top of that. Sprinkle the 1/2 c of shredded cheese (any kind will be yummy but I like to use 2% cheddar) on top and then place in a 350 degree oven until the eggs are set and cheese begins to brown.

Add some fresh fruit and a piece of 100% whole wheat toast and you have a hearty, healthy, complete meal!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's official.

This eating healthfully all the time thing is darn hard work! I feel like the exercise part is almost totally enjoyable...hard work too, but hard work that feels good and that I really like. Not eating junk food, on the other hand, is the sort of hard work that makes me mad! Strange emotion to feel perhaps, but it's anger I feel none the less.

Why be mad? There are several reasons. First, I am mad that I let myself get to a point where I really have to avoid eating treats almost all together because I have so much extra weight to forcing myself to abstain from those treats is a reminder to me of how undisciplined and glutenous I have been in the past.

Secondly, I feel angry that it is so incredibly EASY to get and be fat in our society!! I am not blaming anyone for where I have gotten myself, but our society sure makes it a breeze to get here! The grocery stores are chalk full of calorie laden processed foods. Last weekend, I bought some cheap-o sandwich cookies to give out at our garage sale. I was appalled that just 3 of those little cookies had a total of 170 calories!! The average person probably consumes a dozen of those in a sitting...that's almost 700 calories worth of junk...over half your daily allowance of calories!! The junk is everywhere; in our grocery stores, restaurants, gas stores, vending machines at the YMCA, even our kid's school lunches are made up mostly of high-calorie, low-nutrient, overly processed foods! It makes me mad that everyone is okay with this!! It makes me mad that the "normal" American diet is mostly junk food! The obesity epidemic (which, I admittedly have been a part of) will not end until we drastically change the way we eat...and this makes me mad! And now I realize that to do my part in ending this trend, I should have given out some cut veggies or fruit instead of those evil cookies...but "free carrot sticks" just doesn't seem to have the same draw that "free cookies" does....but it should!

Finally, I feel mad that I can't just do whatever I want...that I can't just eat whatever I want when I want to. Does this make me sound like a spoiled 3 year old? Yes. But that's the way I there! :) Maybe it's different for you, but it is hard for me to be disciplined in so many aspects of my life (kids, dishes, laundry, pet care, vacuuming, church, relationships, etc) and then NOT be able to just eat what feels good at the moment. That doesn't really make a lot of sense, I suppose; if I'm disciplined in so many areas of my life, it should be easy to add just one more, right? Wrong. I have used food as my reward for getting stuff done. I have used food as a stress reliever and when I am avoiding a task....or an unpleasant emotion. I have used food as a time killer, a way to make my down time feel more special, as a placator, and as a way to get back at whatever it is I am angry about. Intellectually, this has never made sense. I have always known the healthy way to eat. Emotionally, it has been an "easy out" and the not-good-for-you friend you turn to when you don't feel worthy of your really nice, high-quality friend.

Food should be food; nourishment and sustenance to give your body the fuel it needs to be healthy and strong. I know a lot of people are able to think of food this emotionally healthy way. These people eat mostly healthy foods without having to go through an emotional tirade inside. They enjoy a "treat" now and again, but are able to eat a regular-sized portion. I hope that, with lots of practice, I will be able to get to a place where food is not such a big, hairy deal! I want to be able to not long for junk that way I do now. I want to be able to not feel like a fight is going on inside me every minute of every day about what I will and won't eat. Until that time, I might just go on feeling mad. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Warm Turkey Ranch Wrap/Salad

This is a great way to get in several servings of veggies, a lean protein, and whole grains all in one yummy meal! And it only took about 15 minutes to prepare!You will need:

-2 slices of lean turkey breast meat (around 3-4 ounces) I used deli meat...not as healthy as if you cooked the turkey yourself, but this is real life after all.
-1/4 of a bell pepper
-1/4 of a red onion
-1/2 a large tomato (or one whole, roma sized tomato)
-1 tbsp or so of garlic
-1/4 of a cucumber
-a few handfuls of some healthy greens (NOT ice burg lettuce!)
-1 100% whole wheat tortilla (look for a brand that has less than 100 calories per tortilla...I use La Flavorita brand and they only have 80 calories)
-1 tbsp low-fat ranch dressing (one serving is 2 tbs and about 60 calories...but you really only need one tablespoon!)
-salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I find the little grinder of pepper gives you a lot more flavor!)

Heat the turkey, garlic, onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes in a skillet on medium high heat. Constantly stirring, add a pinch of salt and a good couple of grinds of black pepper. Once it is all heated through (about 5 minutes,) add 1 tablespoon of low-fat ranch dressing and mix until incorporated.

Spread the greens on your tortilla and top with the sliced cucumber. Spoon the turkey/veggie mixture on top of that, fold and enjoy!

I went a little over-board with the amount of greens I used, so my tortilla really couldn't hold it all. I ended up cutting it all up and eating it salad style. Super yummy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Do or do not, there is no try."

Yoda is a wise little dude. Jillian Micheals adds to this wisdom, "Trying is planning to fail."

When we say we will "try" something, we are building in the possibility that we will give ourselves permission to stop trying...permission to quit working hard....permission to fail.

I am not "trying" to loose weight and get healthy....I am actually DOING it! Failure is not an option. I will not give in to what is easier! Doing what was easy is what got me to the unhealthy place I am now. It feels good to work hard and fight through the tough spots knowing that I will not matter how tough it is.

Someday I will reach my destination of feeling and being healthy....I will reach that destination because I did more than merely "try."

What about you? Quit "trying" and, in the sage words of Nike, "Just Do It!"

Every little bit helps!

Moving your body burns calories....and every single movement counts and adds up over the course of day! What a bonus! :) A few extra minutes of activity here and there make a difference and get you that much closer to the new, healthier you!

Studies have shown that several shorter bursts of activity a day can be equal to one longer workout!

Make it your goal every day to look for and take advantage of all the opportunities to add more activity in your day.

-Park in the furthest spot out in the parking lot.
-Take your laundry up or down the stairs one load at a time.
-Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
-Take a few laps inside the mall before shopping (and ALWAYS avoid the food court!)
-Walk up and down your street once before retrieving your mail.
-Do 25 crunches (or push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, squats, etc) before every meal.
-Play on the playground with your kids instead of watching from a bench.
-Mow your lawn. Then mow your neighbor's lawn.
-Walk to as many of your errands as possible...if it's not within walking distance, then drive but park further away from your destination and walk the remainder of the way.
-Do a few assisted push-ups off your bathroom counter while you get ready in the morning or before you brush your teeth at night.

The opportunities to move more are limitless! So get moving!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Eat to Live!

Food is a necessity; there is no way to live without it. Drug addicts can abandon their drug. Alcoholics can abstain from alcohol. Those of us who have the habit of eating too much can not just stop eating and avoid food!

Back in the old days, food options were limited to what you could grow, raise and prepare yourself. Most people had a healthy diet that included a lot of veggies and, before refined flours and sugars, whole grains. Today, we have a plethora of food choices! We have almost unending options that are as easy to obtain as driving to your nearest grocery store or even just picking up the phone! I'm sure our ancestors would be quite envious of our ease of life...though I have often thought how, at the same time, they might also grieve for us and the choices we make. So many of the most popular food choices in America actually hurt us in the long run! Too much refined flour and sugar, too much fat, unhealthy fat and not enough fruits, veggies and whole grains do not provide our bodies with the nutrients they need to be their healthiest and can actually hurt our bodies. Furthermore, consuming too many calories habitually leads to extra fat on our bodies...fat that contributes (and causes) a wide array of diseases. Our society went from struggling for food, to struggling because of too much food!

You could look at our culture and observe that many of us are choosing to eat to die; our food choices lead to chronic disease and malnourishment. There are a billion excuses one might employ to back their poor choice of food, but the bottom line is that many of us are choosing to eat foods that will lead to a shortened life span! I have been making that choice!!

I don't want to continue hurting my body because of the foods I eat! Unfortunately, it is what has been easiest to do; but we all know that the things that are the easiest are usually not what is best. I am in the process of making the choices necessary to eat to live! I want to eat the foods that will help my body to thrive. I want to eat foods that replenish my body of the nutrients it needs. I want to eat foods that have good, nutritional calories, not empty, negative calories.

I want my body to be healthy and strong, so I need to feed it the foods that will help me reach that goal. I want to feel good and accomplish other goals in my life. I want to live a long life to watch my children and grandchildren grow and thrive! I want to be an example to my children of eating foods that will help me live! I do not want to feed my children foods that will hurt their health now or later in their lives.

For me, achieving this goal means that I think about the nutritional value of everything I put in my mouth. This means snacking on fruits and veggies instead of crackers, chips or cookies and including as many veggies as I can stand in every meal. I use freshly ground whole wheat flour to make cookies and other desserts. If I feel the need for a treat that is otherwise nutritionally void, I choose just one or two small pieces, rather than a handful. This also means I no longer regularly provide my children the traditional, American "kid" snacks like granola bars, fish crackers, fruit snacks and soda; all of which contain too many empty calories and not enough nutrients.

The goal of eating to live will always be lifelong...and in achieving this goal, I hope that life to be very long. :)

BBQ Chicken Wraps

This is a very simple, quick meal that gives you a few servings of veggies, a lean protein and some whole grains!

You'll need:

2-4 ounces of cooked chicken breast (I used canned chicken)
1/4 of a small onion
1 medium carrot
greens of your choice (I used romaine)
100% whole wheat tortilla
2-4 tsp BBQ sauce*
garlic powder (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)

Put the chicken and half of the onion in a pot on the stove to heat up. Add the BBQ sauce, garlic powder and crushed black pepper and stir. While that heats all the way through, lay out your whole wheat tortilla and layer with a very generous amount of greens. Next, shred the carrot on top of the greens and sprinkle the remaining onion on that. Finally, add your chicken mixture, roll up your wrap and enjoy!

*This can easily be switched out for a low-fat dressing, taco seasoning or any other low-calorie, low-fat substitute!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Thing I am Most Consistent About.

I do not regularly and consistently do things. I clean in bursts. I create in erratic slots of time. I cook in clusters. I get in a groove of doing something and then the groove ends. I forget what I am supposed to be working on. I get distracted. I get bored. I get down. Then the whole process starts over again.

The one thing I am most consistent about is: Being Inconsistent. Really, I am super good at it. It's one of the things I do best; inconsistency. It's usually not a hindrance to mine and my family's happiness that I have a knack for change. In fact, sometimes it's a great blessing. A freshly re-arranged room feels like a brand-new, exciting space where our old "stuff" becomes "stuff-in-a-new-location!" It can get irritating, though, when the house becomes a pig sty because I have not consistently maintained the cleanliness, but that is soon remedied by a few days straight of cleaning and organizing during which I feel energized to get it done...and again, things feel fresh and new!

The one area of my life where I struggle the most with consistency, however, is health. I will get on a kick of good eating and exercising but if anything messes with my perfect groove (like life...), I loose it. Up, down; up, down; up, down...I have always hated roller coasters, but I seem to put myself on one when it comes to healthy habits...or the lack there of!

Two weeks ago I was so happily gung-ho about my plans to change my eating habits and be more active. That first week was AWESOME! I felt empowered with every good choice I made and every potentially negative choice I stepped away from. I felt in control. I felt excited! And I had great success: 4 pounds lost in that first week. Then, hello roller coaster! Week number two I totally flopped. I ate junk. I hardly moved more than was normal for our busy life. I ate more junk. I was relieved, as you can imagine, when at the end of week 2 I had not gained any weight back!

I know that I am the most consistent about being inconsistent....I know this and accept this about myself. There is no berating or beating myself up about this. I will just move forward and do my best! Every change you want to make in your life has obstacles and ups and downs. The important part is to pick yourself back up, get on that horse, and set off on the trail toward your destination! I am doing that. Tomorrow morning I have an appointment set at my new gym to meet with a trainer. I will not waste another week of my life not reaching and striving for my goal!!! I have always preferred the open trail to a smelly ol' roller coaster, anyway! Who's with me?!?!

Monday, June 28, 2010


How do people get to a place where they find themselves 20, 30, 60 or even 100 pounds or more overweight? How did I get to this place? One word: permission. With every poor choice made, we gave ourselves permission to make that choice. Most of the time, that included giving ourselves permission to use an excuse like "I'll make healthier choices tomorrow" or "being fat is in my DNA; there isn't much I can do about it so I'm not going to try real hard to change it" or "this one 44 oz soda isn't going to matter that much" or "I don't have time to exercise" or, my personal favorite, "I'm too tired (or stressed, etc) to eat healthfully today." Giving ourselves permission to use and accept excuses is the easy, weak way to live life. I'm ready to be strong!

"When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out." -David Weatherford

My son made a batch of cookies last night. It was still the weekend, so I enjoyed eating a few. This morning, there were still a plate full of cookies sitting on the counter. Normally, I would give myself permission to use a few good excuses and gobble a few right up. But today, I gave myself permission to be strong! Being strong feels good!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why "The Plan"?

Diets don't work. We all know this. We have read the articles. We have mothers, sisters and friends whom we've seen ride the diet roller coaster up and down over the years. Maybe we ourselves have taken that trip; starved ourselves to lose weight only to gain it back again once we can no longer stand the starving!

Diets don't work because they aren't realistically sustainable. Most diets require that you drastically cut back on your caloric intake, cut out whole food groups, or even drink fake vitamins and minerals in the form of a grainy shake; all lifestyle changes that are not permanent.

Diets require you to make hard and uncomfortable changes to lose weight. We either don't stick to the regime of the diet because it is so uncomfortable and so we never attain our goal, or we persevere until that goal is reached only to resume our previous lifestyle (remember the one that made us unhealthy in the first place?) and gain the weight back.

We know diets don't work, so what is a gal (or guy) to do to achieve her health and fitness goals? She needs to commit to changing her lifestyle... for LIFE. If you are a person who would like to become healthier, the only way to achieve that goal is to let go of the things in your life that have made you unhealthy and embrace some new things that are healthy. Replacing negative habits with positive ones is the only way to truly change your health for LIFE and get you off the roller coaster for good!

"The Plan" I have laid out will help you attain your goals of health and maintain that health for LIFE. The parameters are easy to stick to and easy to follow through on. You don't have to say a permanent farewell to your favorite treats; you just see them in moderation on the weekend! You don't have to join a fancy gym filled with intimidatingly fit people; you just have to get up off your tush and move around for a minimum of 30 minutes every day! You can do that!

I don't plan on losing 20 pounds in 20 days like some diet plans promise. I don't plan on dropping 3 dress sizes the first month. I believe in the old adage "slow and steady wins the race." Incorporating these changes in my life and committing to a healthier lifestyle takes time. Losing weight the healthy and permanent way takes time as well. I'd much rather take a month to lose 4 pounds that stay off FOREVER than a week to lose 4 pounds that I know will be found again....

I am committing to living my life healthfully! I am excited to see results, but I am even more excited to feel the results! I hope you'll join me!

The Plan

The basic plan is this:

-Eat healthfully during the week
-No eating past 8 or 9 pm (depending on when you go to bed)
-Junk food only on the weekends
-Move for a minimum of 30 minutes every day
-Strength train 3 times a week

That's it! So simple and, more importantly, so do-able!!

The break-down of the plan is this:

-Every day all my carbs will be 100% whole grain.
-Every day I will eat a minimum of 3 fruits and 3 vegetables
-During the week, all my protein will be low-fat protein
-No junk food during the week (no processed foods, butter/margarine, mayo, ketchup, sour cream, cream cheese, refined sugars, white flours, soda, fried foods, etc.) On the weekend, all junk food is fair game (you will find, though, you will eat a whole lot LESS junk food even though you have "permission" to eat all you want.)
-Every day I will move for a minimum of 30 minutes to get my heart rate going: I will go for a walk, hike, bike ride, use an exercise machine, go up and down the stairs, dance with the kids or even walk in place for a MINIMUM of 30 minutes every day....even Sunday
-3 times a week I will do strength training which could mean lifting weights, popping in a yoga or Pilate's DVD, working with resistance bands or even doing simple calisthenics to increase muscle tone.