Here’s to a healthy September

I like this take on the traditional food pyram...

I like this take on the traditional food pyramid – note the incorporation of water (and tea, it says) along with physical exercise at the top. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hard to believe it’s September, isn’t it?  Where in the world did the summer disappear to?  Since seeing my doctor last week, I’ve decided to rededicate myself to living a little healthier.  You know the drill, eat better, move more, go to sleep earlier, reduce stress.  We all know that’s how to be healthier, but it’s easier to talk about it than it is to actually do it.

Anyhow, when I saw my doctor, we talked about my pain and sleep issues.  Of course, my weight has to have some impact on everything.  I promised her I’d work on eating better and exercising more.  She’s very understanding about how difficult it is to exercise vigorously when I’m in so much pain.  She did suggest several forms of exercise that are a little gentler on my joints, so now I really have no excuse.

I started the month off with my calorie intake at the low-end of the range and 35 minutes of walking.  And of course, I visited SparkPeople.com to log everything.  Now to get some sleep…

Do you guys try to lose weight before the holidays so you can splurge a little at all of those holiday shindigs?  I’ve  done that in years gone by, not sure how well it worked for me though.  I think this year I’m just going to try to eat healthy most of the time and have a little something extra maybe once a week…so Donna, maybe you shouldn’t bring your delicious peanut butter cookies to work…

Week end update (non SNL version)

Juice Machine with Fruit

Juice Machine with Fruit (Photo credit: careyelaine)

We’re just about at the end of another week so I figured it was time to post a little update.  I know I haven’t been posting as much as I had been.  Seems like I come home from work just exhausted every night.  I do what I have to do at home, get online for just a bit, then head upstairs to bed around 7 or 7:30.  That’s ridiculously early, isn’t it?  But that’s the only way I can make it through the next day at work.

This was kind of an odd week at work.  We had two managers on vacation at the same time.  Believe me, I put in enough hours to cover for both of them.  I ended up calling our DM early in the week to okay overtime for myself.  I knew there was no way to get the work done in only 40 hours.  And yes, I know, overtime is probably one of the last things I should be doing for my health right now.

I finally broke down and ordered a juicer after researching them for weeks and weeks…debating myself about whether or not I would actually use one enough to justify spending the money.  I finally decided to take the plunge…I’ve really had no appetite of late and often find myself consuming 800-1000 calories a day.  I know enough about nutrition to understand that’s not likely enough to get proper nutrition…so…the magic elixir steps in…juice.  I haven’t used it yet although I did unpack it this morning,  washed it, and read through the instruction booklet (ooh…I see all my guy friends rolling their eyes at that!!).  I’m getting ready to make a juice recipe that I found on SparkPeople.com that has a lot of veggies in it as well as an apple.  I’ll let you know how my juicing experiment goes.

One very positive note, I’ve managed to lose some weight…18 pounds in the past couple of months…see, there are a few advantages in being sick!!

Naturally Slim…week 2

SparkPeople.com Featured Motivator, December 2...

SparkPeople.com Featured Motivator, December 21, 2008 (Photo credit: zorbs)

I’m pretty excited about the success I had during week 1 of the program…ended up losing 6 pounds in the first week.  Yes, that sounds like  lot, but anyone who has battled a weight problem knows that you usually drop quite a few pounds during the first week.  Yikes!  Does that mean I’m normal???

Anyhow, altogether I’ve now lost 8 pounds and have been exercising almost every day.  I walk on the days I have to work and dance on my days off.  Walking is easier on my joints, but dancing is way more fun and burns a lot more calories.  I’ve got a long way to go to get to where I was two years ago when I ran my first 5K, but I’m working at it.

Today I dug out my SparkPeople cookbook to look for something to cook that would be good to take to work for my lunch for the rest of the week.  I decided to try one of the most popular recipes at SparkPeople…slow cooker salsa chicken.  Holy moly!  That stuff is delicious (go to SparkRecipes.com and do a search for it..you won’t regret it).

One of the things I’ve noticed in the past week is that, by eating slowly (and I do mean slowly…you know, putting your fork down between every bite and really taking the time to taste your food) I’m eating a lot less food.  Most days I’m struggling to eat over 1200 calories…not a bad problem to have in my situation.  By eating at such a slow pace, I find myself satisfied much sooner.  Now how many times over the course of my life have I heard that and just dismissed it?  Now I know it’s true…just got to do it…every meal…every day…

During the online course work I did today, they mentioned that usually, when a person loses quite a bit of weight during the first week, they lose none or very little the second week…hmm…can I prove them wrong?  We shall see.

My goals for this week…exercise 6 days, follow the NS principles, visit SparkPeople.com every day to track food intake and exercise.  I can do it!

Unbelievable…another 3 pounds gone

And gone for good, I might add.  That puts my loss for this month at 11 pounds.  Believe me, I totally understand that this rate of weight loss will not continue forever, but I’m going to take it while I can.

When I put all of my stats in on SparkPeople.com, I said I’d like to reach my goal by the end of this year.  Once they figured everything out, they said I’d need to lose 10 pounds a month to reach my goal by then.  I’ve played this game long enough to realize that I probably won’t lose 10 pounds every month, especially once I get closer to my goal weight.  So I figure anything over 10 pounds I get this month is going to help me in those later months.

You know, some people say you should lose the weight slowly to keep it off.  But now I’m reading and hearing a different point of view.  Saying you have a better chance of keeping the weight off if you lose it quickly.  I don’t know if either viewpoint is correct.  I tend to think it depends on what you do once you’ve lost the weight.  If you go back to eating the way you did when you were heavier, you’ll definitely gain the weight back.  I think you have to remain vigilant and maintain an awareness in order to keep the weight off.

I’m feeling pretty good about my efforts so far this month.  I increased my cardio minutes today and did pretty well with that.  I’m on my way!!

 

The long and winding road to fitness, day 202

Wow!  There are times I regret not giving this weight loss journey my all for the past 202 days…how much weight would I have lost had I done that?

But…I can’t change the past…what I can do is use this to motivate me to work harder to stick with my food plan and exercise program.  I’ve done really well for the past few days.  I guess going back to work does have its advantages.

I’ve been preparing my food the night before and keying everything into my nutrition tracker at SparkPeople.com.  Not sure what the psychology behind this is, but it helps me stick with it…hmm…could be plain laziness, I may be too lazy to want to go back in and change things.

I’ve also been exercising every day.  Not crazy, not over doing it, but doing some cardio and strength training every day.  My body will get used to it…sometime, I hope.

And I did lose 1 pound last week even with not so great eating the first part of the week…vacation, you know…I do much better when I’m on a routine.  But a pound is a pound and I’ll take it.  I’ll take it and work to lose at least that much this week.

Now to get some sleep tonight.  For some wild reason, we’re going in at 5 am tomorrow.  I thought those days would be over since the holidays are behind us.  Shows just how much I know, doesn’t it?

My relaxing final day of vacation

Ahh…don’t you just love being on vacation, staying home where you can get a few things done, get some rest, catch up with all of your activities?  Yeah…like it ever really happens that way.

I haven’t thoroughly cleaned the house during the time I’ve been off.  I didn’t go shoe shopping so I’ll still be wearing the same uncomfortable shoes at work tomorrow.  I didn’t write any extra blogs or do any blog research.  I didn’t get anything written in my book.

What did I do?  Well, I did get back to a daily exercise routine.  I did cook some healthy foods.  I did do some housework (just not everything I wanted to do).  I did get back on SparkPeople.com to track my exercise and nutrition.  So the vacation wasn’t a total loss.

This morning I went to the little gas station/convenience store just down the road to get a newspaper (wanted to read the sports page about IU’s win over Michigan last night).  When I came back out to my car, I went to put the key in the door lock to unlock it and noticed that the key was broken.  What?  It hasn’t felt like it was weakening or anything and it wasn’t hard to turn.  I was able to unlock the door because the broken off part of the key was still in the lock.  Of course I couldn’t start the car.  And did I have an extra key?  Uh…no…I hadn’t gotten around to that yet..argh!!

So I called the car dealership (thank goodness I’d brought my cell phone…had considered not bringing it), and they said they’d have a key waiting for me if I could find some way to get there.  I called one of my friends (thanks, Donna) and she came and picked me up to go get the key.  Once I got back to the car, I had to take it in to the dealer to get the broken key out of the lock.  Sounds easy, right?  Nope.  They couldn’t get it out with their tools so had to take the panel off and take the lock out…finally got it all put back together, got my new key and made it back home…only three and a half hours after I left on my short errand.

But now it’s fixed, ready to roll on in to work at 6 am…ahh…vacation…it was nice while I was on it…and to end this on a positive note, it was a gorgeous spring day here in Indiana today…oh wait, it’s January, isn’t it?

Calories burned…

Okay, I’ve been alternating between my treadmill and my exercise bike for cardio this week…I track everything on SparkPeople.com so I have a general idea of how many calories I’m burning with my exercise.  But I’m wondering if it’s really true that I’m burning more calories on the exercise bike than I am with walking…that seems counterintuitive…with walking, you’re supporting your entire body weight with each step you take.  On the exercise bike most of my body weight is on my butt…yes, I’m moving my legs faster and I do have the tension set a little past the comfortable range…but still…does that make sense to anyone?  Can someone (you know, you fitness experts out there) explain this for me?

I hate to admit this, but I ate too many calories today, no matter how many I burned…haha!!  In a way, going back to work will be a good thing…that doesn’t mean I’m jumping for joy at the prospects of an end to my little vacation here…but I do plan better, and stick to my plan better, when I’m working.  And all of that walking around all day doesn’t hurt with the calories burned either…

One thing I do miss, when I have to go to work, is the beautiful sunrise…

I’m dedicating the year 2012 to my health and fitness

It’s hard to believe that 2011 is coming to an end.  I didn’t manage to make the strides I’d hoped to make concerning my health and fitness this year.  Overall I gained weight and lost fitness.  Not quite the way I wanted to go.  I’ve spent the past few weeks planning how to make permanent changes in my life that will allow me to lose weight and regain my fitness.

The first week of the year, I’ll alternate walking on the treadmill and riding the exercise bike for my cardio.  I’ll do strength training, alternating upper body, lower body, and core.  I’m going to have to start with lighter weights than what I was using before, but you start where you are and go from there.

I’ve got a chart listing minutes for cardio and reps, weight and sets for strength training.  I’ll slowly increase the time for cardio and the reps and weight for strength training.  I want to get to a place where I’m regularly doing at least 30 minutes of cardio five days a week.  Once I’m there, I’ll begin increasing intensity.  I’ve got the plan in place.  I’m determined to follow through.

At some point in time, once I’ve got the exercise habit firmly in place again, I’m going to have to examine my reaction to stress and work on a better way to deal with it.  That’s a little ways down the road, but the thought is in my mind.   I’ll let it kind of percolate there while I’m working on my diet and exercise routines.

I stopped at Kroger today and bought some produce, low-fat dairy, fish and whole grain sandwich thins.  I’ve got my meal plan set for the next few days.  I find I’m really looking forward to eating good, home cooked food again.  Planning and preparation will be key.

And you can bet I’ll be visiting SparkPeople.com daily, if only for a few minutes a day.  There’s something about having that accountability that helps me maintain my motivation.  Of course, we’ll also have our four-week livewell 10,000 daily steps competition at work too.  It all helps!!  And anyone out there who wants to share the journey with me, jump on in!

The long and winding road to fitness, day 110

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...

Image via Wikipedia

How pleasant to have a day off work and have the weather be amazingly gorgeous.  I went out to the farmers market this morning, bought a butternut squash and some other cute little squash (I can’t remember the name of it, but take my word for it, it’s cute!). I also bought a bunch of kale to use in my minestrone tomorrow.  Whatever’s left over, I’ll bake as kale chips.  Think I’ll flavor them with some garlic this time.  There were really a lot of people at the farmers market for an October Saturday.  Of course, the weather might have had a little to do with that. 

I wanted to go out for a drive and take some pictures, but I just didn’t feel up to it.  I’m still feeling kind of sick to my stomach and tired.  So I decided to just kind of take it easy today.  I went through my coupon files and got rid of all of the expired coupons and cut out the coupons from the flyers that were kind of piling up.  I gathered a bunch to take to work to share with my co-workers.  There are so many coupons that I have no use for, but I hate to just throw them away.  So sharing them with the people I work with is my answer to that.

I hate to admit this, but I did no exercising today other than the walking around at the farmers market, and that was more of a stroll.  Well, I say no exercise, but I guess I can count the range of motion exercises and stretching as something.

My eating was, once again, just okay.  Not enough veggies and only two fruits for the day.  I’ve got to make that minestrone tomorrow to up my intake of veggies.  If I can find the link to the recipe (I’m pretty sure I found it on SparkPeople.com),  I’ll try to post  it tomorrow.  If you like the minestrone at Olive Garden, you’d like this recipe.

I’m going to have to go in to work for a little while tomorrow morning to do payroll (yeah, I guess that’s somewhat important) and exercise my creative abilities (ahem) in putting together an ad board and then send a picture of it to the district manager.  I also need to make sure they do a good job with the ad set.  All in all, I’m hoping to finish in 3 hours or so and then get out of there and enjoy the rest of my weekend off.  Who knows, maybe tomorrow I’ll feel like taking some pictures.

I wanted to share this picture of a pumpkin that our floral designer created as a way to honor breast cancer survivors (and those, like my mom, who lost the battle).  My mom is never far from my thoughts. 

The long and winding road to fitness, day 15

Freezer of frozen bananas

Image via Wikipedia

What a difference a day can make…that and a little planning!  I ate so much healthier today….lots of fresh fruit and veggies, some fish and whole grains.  That’s more like it!  Planning what I’m going to eat for the day really does work for me.  I use the SparkPeople nutrition tracker and get all kinds of nifty feedback.  Today, everything was within range with the exception of calcium (please, no lectures…I do take a calcium supplement so I don’t feel too bad about not being within range every once in a while).

I made a big bowl of fresh salsa for lunch.  Then I got the wild idea to mix in one of the peaches I bought at the farmers market yesterday.  I wasn’t sure how it would taste, but it was remarkably good.

Very colorful, isn’t it?   I had this with fish for lunch today…yum!  Dinner was string cheese, fresh strawberries and some Back to Nature flaxseed crackers (my fave).  I also had a snack of a frozen banana pop…got the idea from another blogger (who got the idea from a restaurant in New York) and made up a batch…frozen bananas on a stick dipped in melted chocolate and peanut butter, then frozen until ready to eat.  Holy moly,these things are better than ice cream…and portion controlled!  One of these days, I’ll post a link to her blog…she has a lot of great food ideas and recipes (Back To Her Roots, if you can’t wait)…

As far as exercise goes today, I did some walking and gardening very early in the day, knowing it was going to be hot and humid again.  All in all, I’m feeling much happier with my efforts today, and the fact that I didn’t allow one not so good day to completely throw my off track.  YES!!  So how is everyone else coping with the holiday weekend?  Cookouts and picnics throwing you off your plan?

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