The long and winding road to fitness, day 75

What a really nice day this turned out to be.  It was so pretty this morning.  Of course, it warmed right up quickly and got up in the 90s again. I am so ready for fall…please, please come soon.  I’m done with the heat and humidity.

I did finally make it to the grocery store.  I don’t usually buy lunch meat, but today I bought turkey breast to take to work on whole wheat sub rolls.  The one for tomorrow has some of my pickled peppers and a tomato on it.  Then I’ll have cole slaw on the side…using my all time favorite Hendrickson’s dressing…it kind of reminds me of this sweet and sour cole slaw my grandma made, but I’m sure mine is a lot easier.  Let’s see, I didn’t shred the cabbage and carrots (thank you, Dole) and I didn’t make up my own dressing…sorry, Grandma.

Then I read Nikianne’s blog about how she doesn’t like cottage cheese and that made me think about taking cottage cheese instead of yogurt for a few days.  So I bought some low-fat cottage cheese and a cantaloupe…I really like that combo!  Then I’m taking popcorn for my afternoon snack.  I’ve got everything prepared, ready to toss in my lunch bag in the morning.

I walked for 30 minutes this morning and danced this afternoon (already getting excited about Dancing With The Stars, I should just watch that all the time if it’s going to get me back to dancing).  I didn’t lift weights at all today.  But an hour of cardio is pretty decent.  Then tomorrow is truck day at work, so a day full of exercise for me.

Today I was feeling kind of, oh I don’t know, not good enough, I guess.  I know I shouldn’t ever compare myself with anyone else.  Seriously, what good does that do?  But I caught myself doing just that while I was at the grocery store.  I saw a woman in her twenties, young, fit, cute and I imagined she was looking at me in disgust.  I’m sure it was just my imagination.  I doubt that she paid any attention to me at all.  Why do we think people are thinking negative things about us?  Hmm…because we’re thinking negative things about ourselves?  Hey, at least I did catch myself and talk myself out of feeling that way.  In the past, I would have allowed that to ruin my day.   I’m doing a pretty good job of realizing what I’m saying to myself and making myself stop it.  Now my goal is to just stop the negative talking and thinking  altogether.  That’s a tough one, but I know it’s doable.

Do you have trouble with negative thoughts?  How do you combat it?

New BzzAgent campaign…Grisham

I was invited to take part in a new BzzAgent campaign.  I have to tell you, I was really excited about this one.  I was given the choice of two Grisham books…The Firm and The Confession.  Now many of you may already know, I just posted a blog about The Confession not that long ago.  So that made choosing which book to receive, read, and review just a little easier. 

I received The Firm yesterday.  It was just sitting on my front porch waiting for me when I got home from work.  Of course, I ripped open the package as soon as I brought it in to the house.  There’s nothing like having a new, never-opened book to read. 

Yes, I have read The Firm, many years ago.  I was surprised to learn that this is the 20th anniversary edition of the book.  It certainly doesn’t seem like I’ve been reading Grisham’s books for twenty years, but there you go.  The numbers don’t lie!

I’ve never read a Grisham book that I didn’t like, but I’m anxious to see if The Firm is as enjoyable the second time around.  I’m thinking it most likely will be, I doubt if it’s lost anything over the years.  How exciting is it to be able to do a review about something that you love (reading, Grisham, books)?  I love these BzzAgent campaigns!

Stay tuned for my review once I’ve read the book again.  Have you read The Firm?  More than once? 

The long and winding road to fitness, day 74

Dancing with the Stars (video game)

Image via Wikipedia

Wild and crazy day today.  Absolutely gorgeous weather this morning…all day, really…the sunrise was breath taking..I wish I’d taken the time to take a picture, but I didn’t.  I was kind of running behind on my way to work…same old song and dance, I’m afraid.  Stay up too late, sleep a little later, then rush around getting ready.  At least I have tomorrow off, although I’ve been considering going in for a few hours just to get some work done.  We’ll see…

I didn’t eat enough veggies today, but I did manage to get in three fruits…only three veggies for the day, should have at least two additional servings.  I finished the day with 1575 calories, so I’m not complaining.

I walked for 40 minutes and did a few core exercises.   Not quite as much exercise as I’d like, but it’s certainly better than nothing.  I feel some dancing on the agenda for tomorrow.  That reminds me, I just saw the announcement for the cast of Dancing With The Stars.  I’m not sure about this season.  Of course, I say that just about every season and then end up really liking a couple of the stars.  I’ve watched this show since the beginning, always dreaming that I was up there on the stage dancing with one of those gorgeous dancers…whew!!  I’ve really got to get back to my dancing…dancing and running have been the best exercises for me as far as weight loss goes.

So, what exercise helps you the most with weight loss/maintenance?  Do you do it because you enjoy it or because it helps you control your weight and feel better?  For me, dancing is something that I love, it always puts a smile on my face.  Running makes me feel good (well, back when I was running) I think, in part, because I’ve set a goal and worked toward it.  Why in the world do we stop doing the things that make us feel good?

On blueberry muffin hill

Blueberry muffins…yum!  Who doesn’t like a good moist blueberry muffin?  But don’t most of us also want something that’s at least somewhat healthy?  I try to make my muffins from scratch using whole grains and fresh fruit, but when time is short (or I’m feeling kind of lazy) I’ll resort to the boxed muffin mixes.  Fortunately I found this…

Is it as good for me as what I would make using one of my healthier recipes?  Mmm…no.  Is it better for me than something sweet and sugary from the vending machine?  You bet it is.

These muffins, baked according to the package directions, still have 210 calories per muffin.   I make them smaller by making 18 instead of 12 and that reduces the calories to 140 apiece.  This is just one more indication that what we now consider to be a serving size is much larger than it was in the past.  So I still get to enjoy a freshly baked muffin without going overboard on calories.

Can I make a lower calorie, healthier-for-me muffin?  Yes, I can.  But there are times in life where we make trade-offs, this is one of those times…calories for convenience.  I don’t do this all the time, but it’s nice to know I have the option.  Now I have a good supply of muffins in the freezer.  I can pull one out in the morning, put it in my lunch bag and it’ll be thawed and ready to eat for my morning or afternoon snack.  If that can keep me from putting that dollar in the vending machine, I think it’s worth it. 

The long and winding road to fitness, day 73

motivation-001

I’m feeling pretty good tonight considering I worked all day, couldn’t seem to get anything done, went to bed way too late last night (those crazy housewives of New Jersey…why do I watch them?), and ripped my pants this morning at work.  Go ahead, laugh.  I can take it.  I know everyone needs a good chuckle on  a Monday.  I went shopping at lunch…found a couple of pairs of khakis for work, then walked past a clearance rack and saw a black shirt (we have to wear black shirts at work…so attractive).  Upon closer examination, I didn’t notice anything wrong with it, then I looked at the price tag and was thrilled to see it marked down to $7.99!  I snatched that baby right up.  I looked for other shirts appropriate for work, but that was the only one I saw.  Still…$7.99.   I also bought the softest pair of navy blue sweats…you know the temps are going to start dropping soon (not this week though, we’re expecting 90 degree temps for the latter part of the week) and those things are so comfy.  So anyhow, my mood improved with a little retail therapy.  Now if I could just find a truly comfortable pair of work shoes…

I walked for thirty minutes today and that’s it on the exercise front for me.  My eating was decent…ended the day with 1635 calories so right in the range I’m aiming for.  Now if only I can get just a little more sleep tonight, all will be right with my world…for tomorrow anyhow.

My boss is in Dallas for the next few days.  I pondered how to motivate the people to work quickly and efficiently…decided intimidation was out (sorry, Simone), am still considering bribery for truck day, but went with “Let’s make Chris proud of us.  Let’s get all of this work done while he’s in Dallas.  He’ll come back and be so happy and relieved and proud of how hard we worked while he was away.” Believe it or not, it actually worked today.  One of the guys was really gung-ho about completing his tasks…now for tomorrow…

We’ve already discussed the most effective way your boss can motivate you, but how do you motivate yourself?  That’s really where it’s at…if we can motivate ourselves to eat right, exercise, keep the house clean, do our chores, or whatever is important to us, then we’ve already won the battle.

Men are better planners and organizers

You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into

Image via Wikipedia

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this post by one of my friends (guy) on Facebook the other day.  Of course, he said he wasn’t trying to offend anyone…why is it, when someone says that, you know you’re about to be offended?  I didn’t respond.  Really, what’s the point?  Nothing I say is going to change his mind.   People believe what they want to believe and there’s not a lot you can do to change their beliefs.  All you end up doing, when you argue about something like that, is end up getting angry, saying some things that you can’t take back, and raising your blood pressure.  Just let it go.

I try not to make sweeping statements about any group of people.  There is no “all _____ are…”  or “no ___can ever…” or “never…” or “always…”  People are  different, with different abilities and talents, different dreams and desires, different interests, and different life situations.  That doesn’t mean that the Wall Street big wig is better than the guy flipping burgers at McDonald’s.  It simply means they are in different places in life.

I’m finally in a place in my life where I no longer compare myself to others.  I’m where I am because of choices I made, some good and some bad, but all mine.  That doesn’t make my life less (or more) important than the CEO of the company where I work. 

 How did we ever get to a place where we allow our work to define us as human beings?  What happened to being a good person?  What happened to developing good character?  What happened to making the world a better place for ourselves and our children?

I’m not particularly concerned with how most people see me, with whether or not they think I’m a success.  There are a few people in my life that I love with all my heart.  How I treat those people is my measure of success. 

Men are better planners and organizers?  My response to that… is that why the world is in such great shape now?  You have to wonder…

The long and winding road to fitness, day 72

Quinua (Quinoa) plants near Cachora, Apurímac,...

Image via Wikipedia

Seventy two days!  Unfortunately, no weight loss this week…darn it!  But I have jumped back on the wagon of healthy eating this weekend.  I cooked quinoa corn cakes to take for my lunch for work.  I baked blueberry muffins and put most of them in the freezer, so I have a healthier snack available.  I avoided buying junk food this weekend.  I exercised consistently.  I ate more fruit and veggies.  So, a few steps in the right direction, I do believe.

One of the things I’ve realized about this journey is that it truly is about taking small positive steps.  It’s not about completely changing everything in my life right now, this instant.  It’s about making small changes, working those changes until they become habits, and then moving on to the next step.  There have been many times in my life when I’ve changed everything all at once…but I could only maintain those changes for a short period of time because I didn’t give myself time to develop good habits.  I was hanging on desperately, but inevitably my grip would slip and I’d find myself in a heap at the bottom of the mountain I’d struggled so hard to climb.   I would hang my head in shame, go back to my old lifestyle, and reverse all of the progress I’d made.  I gave up until the next time I tried to solve my problems utilizing the exact same methods that hadn’t worked the previous fifty times I’d tried to lose weight.  Talk about crazy!

Now I’m working at changing slowly, focusing on health and fitness more than weight, taking the time to change my lifestyle..not through sheer willpower but through changing my beliefs and my habits.  It may take me longer to lose the weight this way, but if I can keep it off, who cares how long it takes?

Quinoa corn cakes

I had completely forgotten how truly tasty this meal is until I was browsing recipes at SparkRecipes.com.  When I came across this one I knew this was what I was going to prepare for my lunch for work for the first part of the work week.  Because this recipe is so basic I already had everything I needed on hand.

Quinoa, whole wheat flour, an egg, skim milk, onion, frozen corn, salt, pepper, and water…how much more basic can you get?  Here’s the link to the recipe…

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1207271

Okay, this doesn’t look like much before you cook it…

But look at this with a little fresh salsa on the side…yum!  Tasty, filling and about 200 calories for lunch…can’t beat that!

The long and winding road to fitness, day 71

Basil Pasta Salad Ingredients

Image by lynn.gardner via Flickr

A much, much better day today.  Ate healthy food, fruits and veggies, whole grains…stayed right at 1600 calories for the day.  So I feel better today, feel like I managed to get right back with it rather than allowing myself to stumble over the cliff of overeating.  I had a Morningstar Farms veggie BBQ rib thing for lunch along with whole wheat pasta salad and veggies…very tasty and filling.

I rode the exercise bike today and did core exercises.  I kind of took it a little easier today, trying to rest up a little from this crazy work week.  But I’m ready to hit the exercise hard tomorrow.  A walk first thing in the morning is in order.  I think I’ll end up on the exercise bike again at some point tomorrow.

I planned to go to Kroger this morning, but changed my mind when I realized I didn’t really need anything and that I was daydreaming about ice cream and pizza…I knew I didn’t need either of those things and was kind of concerned that I’d end up buying one or the other (or both) and eating too much of something that isn’t really all that good for me.  So I just didn’t go and saved myself a lot of calories and money!

On the agenda for tomorrow…cooking.  I need to cook some food to take to work and possibly a batch of fruit muffins to put in the freezer.  I’m going to be better prepared this week.  I’m going to take my lunch instead of eating fast food or vending machine junk.  It’s all in the planning and preparation…

How to avoid buying junk food at the grocery store

Grains in bulk

Image by RahelSharon via Flickr

Okay, everyone knows you should always shop with a list…and stick to it…no impulse purchases.  Plan your meals and snacks for the week, then make sure you buy everything you need for them so you’re not tempted when you have to stop at the store to pick up that jar of cumin that you need.  

Never, ever shop when you’re hungry.  Same goes for when you’re exhausted.  Shopping when you’re either hungry or tired (or even worse, when you’re both)  will cause you to pick up whatever looks good, whether or not it’s good for you. 

Don’t cut out coupons for junk food.  If you have coupons, you’ll be more tempted to buy it because, well…because it’s such a great deal.  And who among us can resist a good deal?

Try a new fruit or veggie every week.  Or a new, healthy recipe.  The more healthy food you have on hand, the less likely you are to reach for the junk.

Buy whole foods…food your grandmother would recognize.  Chances are, if you can’t pronounce the ingredients in a product, it’s not something your grandmother would have eaten.  I do make exceptions to this rule.  My grandma never ate yogurt or soy or Mexican or Italian food…but I think she would have at least been familiar with the ingredients used in them.

Plan to do some cooking.  You know, real meals.  Not stand at the kitchen counter and eat meals, but the sit down at the table with silverware and napkins meals.

Shopping the perimeter of the store is always recommended by experts.  That’s pretty good advice.  Usually your produce, meat, and dairy are on the perimeter of the store.  But the freezer section is also a great place to find some healthy choices..just avert your eyes from the ice cream and pizza when you walk by…quickly walk by.

Do some of your shopping at health food stores where you can purchase a lot of your staples in bulk.  That can save you money and help you avoid temptation by allowing you to make fewer trips to traditional grocery stores.  And these staples are great to have on hand when you decide to create your healthy go-to meals.

And my number one most effective way to avoid buying junk food at the grocery store is to simply not go to the grocery store.  Yes, I’ve discovered that I often go to the grocery store just because it’s Saturday (or whatever day is grocery shopping day for you), not necessarily because I need anything.  I was planning to go to the grocery store today and looked at what I actually needed (nothing).  Then I questioned myself about why I needed to go to the store if I didn’t need anything and wouldn’t need anything for several days.  I realized I was thinking about buying pizza and ice cream, neither of which do I need from a health stand point.  So not going to the grocery store today kept me from buying any kind of junk food at all…and saved me some money on top of that.  Not bad, huh?

What are your tips for avoiding junk food purchases?

 

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