Tag Archives: health

You Can’t Finish Without Starting

Ready?

Yesterday was my first day “back on the wagon” so to speak. I always feel more committed to sticking to my goals when I share it on this blogspace. So for what it’s worth, and to whoever may be reading this blog – thank you for helping me stay honest.

So, as I mentioned, my hubby and I are trying to get pack to more paleo/primal eating – so this week our meals are pretty on track! Here’s the run down:

Lunches:
Quick Chicken Enchiladas (with corn tortillas) from Cooking LightBeef Hamburgers with beans (no bun)

Dinners:
Shrimp-n-grits
Chicken Caesar Salad

So I had the hamburger and salad yesterday. I also made what is quickly becoming my signature breakfast dish and it was great once again. For 2 easy recipes – check out my old post about it over on my recipe blog. The great thing about both of them is that you can change up the ingredients to make it match what you like best! I don’t really follow a specific recipe anymore…and I feel like this is one of the few times in my life I am actually “cheffing it up” as my hubby would say!

For snacks, I indulged in some cashews, a small piece of 90% dark chocolate and greek yogurt. All pretty decent snacks in my opinion! And you know what? I was full and the food was good yesterday. I can do this! I still find myself looking to munch on processed crap – it will take a few weeks for those ridiculous cravings to go away, I know. Isn’t it terrible the bad habits we pick up and how food becomes an addiction that you have to kick?

While I wasn’t able to do much in terms of being active yesterday – I bet I burned a ton of calories breastfeeding since my little one had his 2 month shots and wanted nothing other than to eat and sleep in my arms all day long. I guess I can’t complain – I know that before too long he will be running around, uninterested in falling asleep in my arms. Savoring these moments while I can!

So, I could do it for one day, I can do it for another. The lesson here is that you can’t be successful at something unless you actually attempt it. What is stopping you from starting?

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Life Lemons & Making Lemonade

 

It’s been 9 weeks since I had major surgery. I’m feeling a lot better in terms of the incision healing. My swelling is gone, and if you were to see me out and about – you probably wouldn’t guess that I just had a baby you would probably just think I needed to lose some weight.

Over the last 5-6 years, even though I’ve always been technically overweight, I still was muscular and athletic. I was strong and always felt like I was “working on it.” I felt capable of trying new workouts, even if I wasn’t always the best in the class. I had more energy, my metabolism was off the charts.

I miss that person desperately. It feels like I’ve lost my dearest friend and I look at myself in the mirror and I’m not sure I really recognize this person I’ve become. I know that I birthed a child and that no one expects me to just snap back immediately to that person I was a year ago. But for me, it’s tough. I got the green light to work out moderately again at my postpartum check up around week 6. I was so excited to try and start incorporating some exercise again. And it was like the evil villain heard the news and decided to snatch my joy. I woke upĀ  soon after with incredible pain in my knees. It hurt to walk, it hurt to move my knee joint, it hurt to go up/down stairs, it hurt to try and kneel or squat (try giving your baby a bath without kneeling/squatting!). Everything hurt. I thought it would pass – it was just some crazy after effect of the relaxin hormone/chemical (not sure what it is exactly) in my body passing through. *sigh*

But here we are, starting on week 10 and I’m still in a lot of pain. I’ve tried massage and chiropractor, I’ve tried ignoring it, I’ve tried walking more, walking less. I’ve tried stretching, heating pad, icing it – elevating my legs, I’ve tried monster size ibuprofen. I have an appointment with an acupuncturist scheduled. I’m out of ideas. I’ve heard from some others in the same boat as me, but it seems like no one has any cures other than just time. And I guess I’m impatient, I feel like knee pain impacts everything else. You sort of need your knees to do almost anything active..particularly when I’m taking care of my baby all day long in a house with 2 sets of stairs.

So I complain about this only to tell you that if I can’t really exercise right now, I can’t use that as an excuse to spiral out of control. I have to control the things I CAN control and wait for my body to fully recover from pregnancy and surgery, even if it is taking way longer than I imagined to just be able to walk without pain.

July Detox!

So my hubby and I are doing a bit of a detox this month. I’m not going on a diet – don’t worry – I know that is unsafe while breastfeeding. But I can do something about what I’m putting in my body. We are cutting out all fast food and working toward no processed foods. I think these are hard to avoid 100% of the time, but we are going to try to be at 90% unprocessed this month. If i buy something that is in a package – I can at least pick items that are as natural as possible. I can totally do that!

We are going to reduce our eat out meals – 1 lunch/1 dinner out during the week and I know we will have to work hard to get our weekend eating out adventures under control, but we can do it. When I do eat out, I can make better choices.

And at the end of this month – I know I will feel better because I’ll be DOING something about my health instead of just waiting to feel better to get started.

Life isn’t always how you plan it, and having a baby has big a big lesson in “control” and how much I don’t have control over a lot of things in my life like my schedule! But that doesn’t mean I should throw away everything I’ve worked for over the years – I just need to find comfort in the things I can control and rock it.

I’m not putting a weight loss goal on this monthly detox – because I’ve lost about 35 pounds already and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to lose the last 10 until I stop breastfeeding. But if I do – then great! But my goals are to feel better, and to feel like I’m doing SOMETHING about my health since I can’t exercise like I want to yet.

I’m feeling very “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” right now. So I’m just going to go with it and see what happens!

 

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Back to My Primal Ways…

Well, I’m starting to feel more energetic lately, so that is good news. I’m not grossed out immensely by certain foods so that is also going on the winner board. So what does this mean for my healthy eating lifestyle at this point? I think I’m going to make the leap and go back to eating primal/paleo inspired next week and see how it goes.

The last few weeks we have been trying to eat LESS of the bread/wheat stuff in an attempt to slowly help me move away from it now that I’m not on the verge of being sick all the time. I’ll admit that bread is just comforting to your stomach for whatever reason – or at least it helped me get past a lot of the sickness/queasy stuff in the first three months. BUT – man cannot live on bread alone, RIGHT!?

I was really digging my primal eating ways pre-pregnancy and saw improved energy, less cravings, feeling full on less food and I did experience some weight loss from naturally making better choices particularly when I went out to eat. So I’m going to re-focus and see how this goes. Of course, I’m planning on discussing this with my doctor on Monday during my next check in. I expect that I’ll still have the occasional weird craving and I’m not going to be all or nothing about this eating style while pregnant because what’s most important is that I’m eating what baby needs.

But I’m going to take a wild guess that baby does NOT need a chicken filet biscuit for breakfast…really ever. Okay, you only live once – so maybe just a few along the way. šŸ™‚

I’ll still be eating dairy – so not true paleo style but still in alignment with Primal eating. I’m focusing on healthy fats like avocado, raw nuts, olives. And of course, moving back toward more lean protein and veggies as my main focus. So we’ll see how I do.

It’s funny because when I started this Paleo/Primal (wheat/grain free) back in the summer, my husband hated me for changing our diet. He hated eating wheat free. He hated all the things he saw as limitations and complained about it ALL THE TIME.

It made sticking to the plan so much more difficult for me. But now he is the one who keeps asking if I’m ready to go back to eating Primal/Wheat Free because it made him feel so much better. Now we laugh after he gives in and eats a biscuit or something at breakfast because he is SO reactive to it – gets stuffy almost immediately. He wonders how he never noticed before (despite my constant attempts of explaining my theory!).

Amazing how much we don’t listen to our bodies even when we have pretty strong reactions to foods/drinks that we have on a regular basis. So this next week or so will be interesting to see how my body reacts to changing up my diet and getting back on track with eating good for me foods!

Of course, I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Thankful Thursdays: First Days…

Things are starting to become “abuzz” on campus – some students have already started to move in, but tomorrow will be the “big day” – all our new freshman will be coming to campus and getting moved in, meeting their roommates, orientation leaders – and of course, me! šŸ™‚ Okay, well only a select few will meet me this weekend as I do teach a freshman 101 type of course. Our first class meets on Saturday (school on SATURDAY!!??). Want to feel old? These incoming freshman were born in (ready?) 1994. I’ll let that sink in for a second. And that’s not just a random call out for Forrest Gump – that movie actually came out in 1994 to put things in perspective. (You’re Welcome)

 

Phew, back to the post now.

I remember my college move in day and that whole weekend vividly. I went to a college 8 hours away from my home town. I grew up in a small town, went to college in a big city. I knew no one, but I don’t remember being scared. I remember pure excitement! I met new friends immediately, and it was a whirlwind of adventures that first semester in college. I don’t really remember any of the homework assignments, or readings – what sticks with me the most are the friends I made, the decisions I was faced with that first semester of being on my own, and how much fun college was compared to high school.

I had a chance to reconnect with some old friends from my college last weekend. Unfortunately, the circumstances weren’t great – we had come back together to provide support for a college friend who lost his sister suddenly in a car accident. But, it was good to tell stories about the stupid adventures we all got into, the movies was watched on repeat, and we laughed and I thought that was better than crying for a little bit. It reminded me of just how much the people I met in college meant to me, and still do. How that experience connected us with invisible threads we often forget about until we’re together again.

College was this magical experience for me. The people I met, the lessons I learned (inside and outside the classroom) shaped who I am in my adult life. I often think because of my college experience – it made me want to continue to be in that environment as part of my career. Here I am, almost a decade later, still sitting on a university campus – nervous energy bubbling up about the adventures of yet another school year. Wondering what amazing things I’ll learn this year, what new students may darken my doorstep and if maybe I’ll have the chance to help them grow and develop the same way the faculty/staff at my college helped me grow into the woman I am today.

I have a role where I get to meet new people every single day, and they are often searching for something. Someone to help them figure out a game plan, find an internship, to share excitement about a job offer.Ā  I’ve also had the chance to connect with students on a deeper level and that has lead to a whole host of other types of conversations about life, relationships, healthy behaviors, and so much more. I often get bogged down by the paperwork and process part of my job, and I forget what a wonderful opportunity I have everyday to make a difference in someone’s life. Sure, I’m not SAVING lives by any means – but it’s so awesome to be in a role where the people I work with are in this magical stage of their lives where big decisions are being made. When they are learning how to be independent, gaining confidence, learning to tread water gracefully instead of just splashing around.

My hope is that every now and then, I can make an impact – even if it’s a tiny one. We all have the chance to open our hearts to helping others – and while I’m not a huge “volunteer-er” I have a big heart for helping my students and people around me so they can be happier with the choices they make as it relates to their work, their careers, etc. It’s a big responsibility, but I know I owe it to them, because someone took the time to mentor me, to be-friend me, to challenge me, to train me, to knock me off my soapbox when I needed it – and mostly, just to believe in me.

Today’s post isn’t about motivating you to lose weight, work out more, eat differently or anything like that. It’s about taking pride in who you are, how far you’ve come, and giving back when you have the chance. No kind thought or words are ever too small to make a difference!

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Little Things and Big Wins

It’s easy to fall into the pattern of only recognizing the BIG WINS on your way to a healthier version of you. You know – seeing pounds disappear on the scale every week is awesome, but I know for me I don’t always see the big result I was hoping for and it’s easy to get upset about it. Sometimes I put on a pair or jeans, or a skirt from a few years ago and it still doesn’t fit the way I want it to and it’s a little depressing.

It’s easy to let those things deter you from making good decisions every day. But what areĀ  big wins made of? Tiny little decisions along the way….and the more GOOD decisions you make, the more likely you are to see those BIG WINS elsewhere. I try to use this mentality on a every day basis and it helps me get through periods where I feel like I’m plateauing or just not making as much progress as quickly as I’d like. I’m here to tell you that it’s NORMAL to not steadily lose 2 pounds a week for 2 months. I’m here to tell you it’s NORMAL to have days where you do everything right, and your clothes still feel a bit tighter. I don’t know all the science behind it, but it’s perfectly normal to have fluctuations in your weight on a daily basis. Don’t get caught up in all the scale drama.

Celebrate Good Decisions

I want to encourage you to celebrate the little things each day. Like when you go out to eat and you order something that is better for you than you normally would. When you stop yourself after 2 glasses of wine or 2 beers instead of finishing the bottle or 6 pack. When you choose water over soda. When you take your dogs for a walk instead of going home and watching a TV show after work. All these little things are to be celebrated – these are truly the foundation of a better YOU. You cannot have the BIG WINS if you don’t do the ground work first. And you must remember, BIG WINS are not a daily thing for most people. Maybe not even a weekly thing for some.

Deciding to become a healthier you is a journey (I’ve said this a million times), and for most people – the reward is not just being healthier at the end of it, but all the amazing things you learn about yourself along the way. I have discovered I have way more self control than I ever knew once I made up my mind to do something (or not do something). I’ve also discovered some people in my life are going to be more supportive than others. That’s okay – I’ve made a lot of new friends along the way as well – and I’m excited to have people to share my successes and set backs with as I go. I have also learned I’m not as picky of an eater as I once was – I just had to find the courage to try new things every once in awhile. I still have a ways to go, but I’m making true progress here (as in I suggest we buy and eat brussell sprouts on a regular basis now…who am i?).

I’ve learned despite having a pretty hectic schedule, carving out the time to plan my meals and make them in advance is the absolute best use of a few hours on the weekend. It allows me the freedom to not worry about “what’s for dinner” or “what should I bring for lunch today” at all. I don’t stress about what I’m going to eat during the week because I’ve already made the decision in advance – I never thought having such structure in my life when it comes to food would be good, but it really works well with a busy schedule. And it helps me continue to make good decisions because I’m not in a rush to try and cook something for dinner when I get home and it means I have a healthy and filling lunch to bring to work 4 out of 5 days (I allow myself 1 eat out lunch a week so I can connect with employers, other campus staff, etc.).

All these lessons I’ve learned along the way are helping me build a solid foundation for my healthy future. I’m making big changes for my future by making good little decisions along the way. It’s really just a matter of DECIDING that you want to make a change. Then you have to start trading your bad habits for better ones. A few words of advice though – don’t expect to meet your goals 100% of the time. Life isn’t designed that way and you will set yourself up for failure if you have that sort of ALL or none mentality. Baby steps, people!

I will share a little win I had this morning – it came as a total surprise! I didn’t step on the scale or measure (that’s what my Friday’s are for!), but I put on a pair of pants for work that I haven’t worn in awhile and they were pretty loose. So i was like, that feels nice. I decided to wear a belt. I pulled out my belt and when I pulled it through the metal frame – it pulled WAY more than it has before. I was able to put my belt on the next to last smallest hole. I seriously was like “WHOA – is this my belt?” because it was such a strange sensation.

Make a few better choices today. Do it again tomorrow. And then keep at it for the rest of your life. After all, the reward of being healthier directly benefits YOU!

When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no “I’ll start tomorrow.” Tomorrow is disease. – V.L. Allineare

 

 

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My LAB (Life After Bread)

A few short weeks ago, if someone would have told me that I would not be eating bread or most of my typical snack choices (Goldfish Crackers, Triscuits, Granola Bars…etc), I probably would have thought it impossible. Truly, when my chiropractor first gave me an article on some of the positive impacts of removing wheat from your diet I read it – but it seemed so far out and crazy that I didn’t even consider it.

As many of you know, I decided to take the plunge and do a 30 Day Food Challenge that mostly centered around a Primal/Wheat Free foods. All of a sudden, 30 days have flown by and I’ve officially entered a new stage of my life: Life After Bread.

My husband asked me over the weekend, “So what’s next?” as he knows I’m constantly looking for fun and challenging ways to be more active, eat healthier, etc. I replied, “Nothing – this is it. This is good.” And it made me happy to finally have found something that doesn’t feel like deprivation. It doesn’t feel like a diet. It’s not boring, I’m not starving and I’m also not kicking my butt in the gym every single day until I’m reduced to a puddle of sweat on the floor.

It does mean that I put a lot more thought into what meals I’m preparing, the ingredients I use and my “usual snacks.” But I was already thinking a lot about those things to begin with – so it’s just been a bit of a learning curve to think a DIFFERENT way about food. Understanding that there IS life after bread is certainly step 1. I didn’t think I would ever say that – but when I’m not eating it all the time, I don’t crave it. It’s really that simple. In fact, a LOT of my cravings have vanished. It’s not perfect – of course I’m still tempted when I see sugary, carb loaded desserts – but it’s really not as all-consuming as it was before to me. It felt like before – I just didn’t have the will power to say no to cake, cookies, bread baskets…etc. And now it’s just a bit easier to take a pass.

I have noticed that certainĀ  foods impact me in ways I never knew they did. I think I was so accustomed to eating wheat and grains and processed foods that I didn’t even notice that they were making me feel low energy, congested, or upset my stomach. Now it’s pretty crystal clear to me when I eat something that probably should be on my “extreme moderation list.” And it’s easier to avoid those foods when you can physically FEEL the negative impact of eating them. I would associate it with people who avoid foods they are allergic to – the food is usually not worth the reaction.

Shrimp Vindaloo served with Cauliflower Rice

I still am figuring out how to make it work and still participate in real life. For the most part, I’ve found it fairly easy to find things when we go out to eat. It helps that I don’t have Celiac Disease or something that would make me SUPER sick if I make a mistake, but when you are trying to avoid wheat/grain in restaurants there are still good options at most places. I tend to order meat & veggies for the most part. Still super delicious and actually pretty different from what I’d order in the past so it is giving me some variety that I didn’t have before. Another bonus!

There are times when it’s hard – and I make an exception. That is one thing that I’ve enjoyed about the Primal Blueprint book by Mark Sisson – he promotes adopting an 80/20 rule because it’s hard to be perfect and strict all the time. Sometimes you just want to eat cake, or you are in a situation where people are basically insulted if you don’t try their food. But I think i can live with following this plan 80% of the time. And most likely, it will be more like 90% of the time because I do feel like I can control most situations since I’m already in the habit of bringing my lunch to work, not eating out super often, etc.

I’m getting to the part in Mark’s book that discusses primal lifestyle in the weight loss mode and I think that will be helpful for me to focus in on things I can do (or avoid) so I can really reap the benefits of Primal eating. Then once I’m where I want to be – maintaining won’t be as strict as long as I’m still on the 80/20 bandwagon and staying active.

Some goals I have for the next few weeks:

  • For the best weight loss results, I need to be keeping my carb intake between 50-100. I’m going to track my meals for a few days to see where I am already just to be sure I’m not accidentally eating something that is blowing me out of the water with carbs. I’ve never paid that much attention, and I SHOULD be in this zone already by eliminating wheat butĀ  I just want to be sure. I am currently signed up onĀ paleotrack.com but am also going to look into fitday.com.Ā  We’ll see which one i like better!
  • I’m going to focus on adding more moderate cardio to my week. It’s still been a struggle to figure out exactly what I should be doing. The strength training is going well! I’m doing that 2x a week already. Last week I went to the trampoline airobics class and it was a fun workout – I could see myself doing that once a week again!
  • I want to have a focus this month on backing off the corn and potato – corn is definitely troublesome for me so I need to make sure I’m not overdoing it. I think I may set a rule of one corn and one potato serving every week (if at all) while I’m really pursuing weight loss!

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Routine Vs. Flexbility – Which one works for you?

You ever had one of those weeks where you feel like things are spiraling out of control but you seem helpless against it? That is sort of how I feel at the moment. I’m feeling equally under and overwhelmed depending on what part of my life we are talking about.

During my chiropractor appointment this morning, I could tell that my doc was shaking her head at me. She asked me if I had something stressful going on and teased me about how stress in my life made her job harder. It’s really crazy how yourĀ  body reacts to stress. It manifests itself in physical ways. For some, you might have trouble sleeping, others may feel like all they do is sleep and it’s never enough. Maybe when you are stressed out, you reach for comfort foods. Apparently, when I stress out, my body declares war on itself and things stop working properly.

A big part of my journey (both on this blog and otherwise) is learning about myself. Figuring out what works for me, what doesn’t and hoping that along the way maybe I help a few other people out with their goals. I think the 30 Day Food Challenge (Primal/Wheat Free inspired) has helped me start listening more to my body and it’s certainly created new awareness about how different foods impact me – for better or worse! Doing my 90 day Summer Challenge (TurboFire) showed meĀ  I had the energy and will power to work out 6x a week. It gave me routine and structure that I think I really needed at the time because I was feeling a little lost on the work out path.

So here I am, trying to pick up the pieces after my fitness challenge. I’m doing something new – but it’s not nearly as structured. There is a lot of room for flexibility (which I probably raved about a few days ago) – but what I didn’t consider was that with flexibility comes great responsibility. Okay – so that’s not quite how that quote goes, but you know what I mean? Having options for my work outs on most days means I also have the option to just not work out. That’s what I’m struggling with right now – I don’t want to not be active. But I also don’t want to have to stick to the same schedule every week. Where is the in-between?

I’ve been thinking about this for the last few weeks because I just haven’t been pushing myself as hard with my workouts…which is probably good because my body deserved a little break from 3 months of intense cardio workouts. But I feel like I’m dropping the ball a little and not sure that working out a LOT less is going to be the direction I want to go. And this is especially true if I have a day where my food is totally off-base, I need to be upping my workouts to try and negotiate a little body bartering:

Me #1:”You ate a lot of cheese, so that’s going to cost you 2 pounds on the scale.”
Me #2: “I hear what you are saying – but what if I worked out hard for an hour and get my food back in gear the rest of the day? Could we call it an even split?”
Me #1: “You want to play games, do you? Well how about you do your work out, you eat your cheese, and we’ll just see what happens.”

I’m not a very good negotiator. But I DO believe that if my food is not where it needs to be, I have to at least try and make up for it with increasing my workout.

SO all this non-sense to really get to one point (and yes, sometimes i need to ramble before I get to the main event).

If I don’t want a rigid schedule because I feel like it’s a bit suffocating, and I don’t want to have total freedom because I think I’ll just end up staring at the wall at home (or dragging my body behind like this giant bear) instead of doing something active there is really only one solution:

I’m going to try and plan my workouts one week at a time. Just like selecting my meals for the week – I’ll sit down and figure out my game plan for my workouts one week at a time. Then I’ll write those workouts on my schedule in advance so that way I don’t have to think much about it day of – I’ll know what’s on the schedule. But I’ll also have the choice for it to be something totally different the next week if I want.

 

 

 

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