Eat Well, Move More

{July 2, 2012}   Jillian kicked my arse

Oh. My. Goodness.

I’ve spent the past few months trying to work back up my stamina. I’ve progressed from a few minutes of walking a day to nearly an hour a day, at least 5 days a week.  I’ve only had one episode of debilitating pain and fatigue that kicked me down.  I thought I was ready to step it up to the next level of exercise, so I picked out a workout DVD from my collection of DVD’s.

My choice today: Jillian Michael’s Biggest Winner series.

I chose it for its combination of large and small muscle group exercises, and for the simplicity of basic exercises. The last thing I wanted was fancy footwork or complicated combinations. I am so uncoordinated these days.

Jillian kicked my arse. I only made it half-way through the first DVD this morning.  I stopped a couple of times, pausing to catch my breath, then rejoined. I had to stop at the point that I was dizzy.

I’m not  sure if I was pushing myself too hard or if my asthma was to blame.  Nevertheless, I got more of a workout than if I had not done it at all. I will try it again this evening after work.  And I’ll continue to try, over and over.

Something to keep in mind about workout DVD’s: You can pause. You can take a bit of a break (while still moving around, walking to keep your heart rate up) and rejoin it. It is also OK to stop when it gets to be too much, cool down, stretch, and go back to it another day.  Just don’t give up easily.


{June 25, 2012}   A Delicious Twist on Oatmeal

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that “I just don’t do that oatmeal thing”.  Oatmeal in the traditional sense just does not sit well with me. The texture is just, well, yucky. My children are staying with me, so I was looking for recipes to stretch some pantry items (such as oatmeal) and make a healthy breakfast. I stumbled across this fabulous recipe at A Cozy Kitchen.  I had the strawberries (in the freezer) and the oatmeal, so we gave it a go. This was fantastic!  No gooey oatmeal texture, not a cookie either.  It was a delightful springy, muffin like experience.  We used double the strawberries and it turned out just fine.  Check out Adrianna’s recipe linked below.

Some of the best stuff isn’t planned. And today I present you the most delicious accident that’s happened in a loooong time. You’re actually supposed to be staring at cute little baked oatmeal cups. I pictured you whipping them up

via Strawberry Vanilla Bean Baked Oatmeal.

Adrianna’s photos are much prettier than mine. But this was my first try at making this recipe, and this was the piece I was able to salvage from my hungry children.

{May 14, 2012}   Good Morning Sunshine!

This is how I start my day. 

Poached eggs with slightly runny yolks, over a bed of spinach, are my Sunshine. I just don’t do that oatmeal thing in the morning. It’s a texture thing. My gag reflex thanks me for choosing otherwise. Not to mention the color of oatmeal is well, oatmeal and boring. I love color, bright vivid color in my food. Sometimes there is a small bowl of berries here as well.

{May 14, 2012}   Love Don’t Cost A Thing

The title is poor grammar, yes. And it’s more than a teen movie title from the early ’90’s or  a Jennifer Lopez song.

I spent a few hours this weekend sorting out all of the fitness and exercise stuff that I own.  The above picture is just a sampling of the “fitness” stuff in my house. I was trying to figure out what I need to take the next step in my plan to get healthy and fit.

I wonder how many of us do this? (C’mon, raise your hand. You know you’ve done at least one…)

  • See an infomercial for a new DVD exercise program and put it on our wish list, or even buy it.
  • Buy magazine after magazine with eye-catching headlines promising to show you how to get “flat abs” or lose 20 pounds by summer.
  • Shop yard sales or Craigslist for a weight bench or treadmill.
  • See an advertisement for this month’s special on a gym membership and look in the checkbook to see if you can budget it in
  • Make a shopping list of what gadgets or tools you need to start your fitness or weight loss program

Over the years, I have collected several “fitness guru” books, a few sets of exercise DVD’s and magazines. I’ve owned weight benches, dumbbells, elastic bands, balance balls, and other equipment. In the past, I’ve had gym memberships or exercise class punch cards that often went unused.  Up until a few weeks ago, I had a wish list for the perfect “as seen on TV” exercise program, as if it would motivate me to follow through. What I’ve come to realize is that while all of these things could help me reach my goals, they do NOTHING if I don’t use them.  Investing in more or different items would be a waste of my money.

Making a shopping list to get fit or lose weight is a stalling tactic. Procrastination. Where is that internal motivation to love myself enough to begin to DO SOMETHING?  I don’t need new gadgets or DVD’s. I need to use what I have on hand and do so consistently. In fact, it’s time to get back to basics.  Remember gym class in high school?  Running and calisthenics?  I’ve decided to start again with walking and some simple floor exercises. Yes. That seems like a good starting point to Move More. I’ll add the other items in as I go.

{May 11, 2012}   Calories Schmalories

I don’t count calories.  What?!

Yes, you read correctly. I have not counted or tracked calories in years. Long ago, I gave up tracking and calculating the exact grams of carbs, sugars, fat, protein. Yes, I know it sounds like an oxymoron, especially coming from someone who will be blogging about weight loss, health, eating right, etc.

I do understand the concept of counting calories and the many theories of how calories play a part for weight gain, weight loss. Calories in (diet), calories out (exercise) as the simplest. The theory that our bodies metabolize different types of calories differently, and the recommended scientific ratios.  I’ve read the research and agree that what we put into our bodies to fuel and the energy we burn will affect our mass, our weight, our body shape.  Counting calories and understanding how calories work in relation to a healthy weight has its place. I simply have no desire or need to count calories and track every single morsel numerically. In school, I greatly disliked Mathematics. I am right-brained. Simply put:  I do not speak numbers.

Once upon a time, I obsessively counted calories, fat grams and sugars, and I would,  with much scrutiny,  calculate the exact amount of output (exercise) needed to expel the calories I had input.  This time in my life was a dark time, obsessive and unhealthy. This was a time in my life that I struggled with an eating disorder, which I will share with you another time.

A few years back, I was tasked with meticulously planning meals structured according to Phase One of the Atkins’ Diet.  Food choices were extremely limited, only certain number of grams of carbohydrates (including fiber) was allowed, etc.  Plan and preparing the meals was tedious and boring, and above all, frustrating. If I deviated just a little bit from the “prescribed” plan, well, let’s not go there. Let’s just say, that I was not the one partaking in the diet plan. I prepared the meals for someone else.  I found it extreme, incomplete, and far more complicated than necessary. It was certainly not satisfying, as I witnessed frequent binges and straying from the plan.  I was urged to join in following this plan, but instead, I chose another path.

I have been a (an on again/off again) Weight Watchers member.   Yes, there is tracking and counting involved in the WW plan, but I found it a simpler method. It satisfied the small part of me that tends to obsess; it gave me something to track.  There are fewer numbers to track, healthy goals, and far less complicated. At least, it was for me.  Most importantly, beyond the tracking points, WW taught me very valuable lessons that have made it possible for me to feel confident in eating without counting calories.

  • Writing it down and keeping a food journal made me more aware of what I am eating. This behavior encouraged me to more carefully think about what I put in my mouth.
  • Choices and options were plentiful, as were the consequences. If I chose foods that were more convenient (prepackaged, fast food, etc), then I ate less often and felt unsatisfied. If I chose “real” food, such as fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, than I could eat more frequently and feel more satisfied.
  • Moving my body “bought” extra points that I could choose to eat or not. Again, choices.
  • Thoughtful choices bring positive results and success.
  • Accountability is powerful. Support is imperative.
I haven’t attended WW meetings in several weeks, for budgetary reasons, but I have not left behind the tools. I still have them available to me, and refer to them often.  Am I tracking points right now? No. Why? Because at this new starting point, I’m keeping it simple.  I will most likely return to counting points and attending meetings, but for now, I am excited about this new freedom I have found.
I had a realization a couple of weeks ago, an epiphany. I have the tools I need to be successful in my desire to return to a healthy weight, to reach the jeans size that I will feel good in, and to improve my overall well-being. I know the difference between food that is “convenient” and food that is real and beneficial (Some would call this “clean eating”).  I know what is needed to move in the direction I want to head in.  If I eat real food and make an effort to move my body more, then I will reach those goals without overwhelming myself or stressing out about the numbers. And I can enjoy…
I have a found a new passion and enjoyment in photographing the food I cook. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with food most of my life.  I choose to embrace the “love” part of that relationship. I love food. I love to eat. I love to cook. I love to create dishes that appealing and colorful and tasty.  Seeing the pictures brings me joy and reminds me of my success with being able to make good choices in food. If I am eating well, I do not need to worry about the calories so much. In fact, when food is elegant and appetizing, I tend to eat less of it, because I savor each morsel. And I don’t like to mess up my creations so quickly.
So…I will choose to Eat Well…and enjoy it.

{May 11, 2012}   Starting Point

We all do it.  We make New Year’s Resolutions, plan to join Weight Watchers next month, promise to join the gym next payday, schedule  to start on that Couch to 5K program on Saturday, etc.  It’s noble, these plans and promises that we make.  We mean well, but the bottom line is…

We procrastinate. We delay. We put it off. We finally start. Life happens. Something gets in the way. We skip a day. We stop. We plan. We procrastinate. It’s a vicious cycle.

Often, we aren’t catapulted into following through or making changes at all, until there is an outside motivator: a family member’s health is in jeopardy, or even our own, motivates a change to be made.  Outside motivators can be helpful, especially the “scary” type.

Honestly, though, to be truly successful and not sabotage our own plans, we must find that internal motivator.  Yes. Self motivation is key.  We all have it. We just don’t use it like we should.  Simply put, it is deciding to…


My external motivator: rapidly deteriorating health and increasing pain.  Diagnosis is irrelevant at this point. I know what needs to change.  My internal motivator: I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I want to feel better and be my “old self”.  I consider myself semi-sedentary in my lifestyle, and at times “inconsistently active”. And my downfall, I love food!  The inconsistency and promises to begin exercising or eating healthier “on Monday” are not helping me.  I have fitness DVD’s, diet books, and exercise stuff. My problem is that I keep wanting things to be perfect and think a fancy program is going to help me. Sure it would, if I actually used it. Waiting for the right day or the beginning of the week or the perfect program is not helping me.  A few days ago, I simply made the decision to “do something”.  I decided to just Eat Well and Move More.  Sounds too simple? No. Not really. It’s a starting point, a realistic starting point.

It doesn’t matter where you decide to begin. Just pick something and do it. And tomorrow, do it again.  Some things should be planned and scheduled, and that’s fine. We shouldn’t wait for June 1st to begin our “programs” or for next Monday to begin to eat better. Each day is a starting point.  Now is a starting point.  Don’t complicate things. Keep it simple.  Eat well. Move more.

et cetera