Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 39 Thinking about Jack's challenge...

Yesterday Jack posted a challenge to run a 5K on November 14th.....which was thrown down by Kelly, btw.

Jack, do you have any idea how long its been since I've run?!? seriously.....

And yet I still keep thinking about it....went to sleep last night thinking about it....woke up thinking about it.

I used to run, once upon a time. Not a very serious runner, mind you. But at least for a few years, the Corps made me do it. And afterwards I ran sporadically....until the kids came along....and life got in the you realize that the "babies" I had that got in the way of running are now adults?!? And I had viral pneumonia...twice....and...and....

Oh, who am I kidding?

Ok, Jack and Kelly. You're on. I can do this. Let's see...that's 46 days from now. That's enough time to get ready....


By the way, I did redeem myself slightly yesterday by eating a "fresh fruit only" dinner, and going for a two mile walk with hubby. I felt really good on that walk! Nothing hurt and I felt really energized. Haven't felt that good on a walk in years!

I really love Google Maps. I can pretty much pinpoint my exact route around the neighborhood by punching in the intersections I go through and it gives me the distance to tenths of a mile. And the cool thing is being able to drag the route around in order to achieve the exact distance I want. You all probably know this, just saying.

Well, short post today. Have a good one, all!


P.S. I just wanted to add that I looked up this mysterious C25K that you ppl keep mentioning, and found the site. Better yet, I downloaded the app to my adroid and am starting tonight. I'm going to have to cram 9 weeks of training into 46 days...I can do this.

And I had a salad for lunch, so I'm behaving.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 38 Continued....

Ok, so I'm blowing it today. My co-workers took me to lunch for my birthday (which was over the weekend), and one of them brought in a cake, too. That, combined with the graduation party on Saturday and the minimal walking....I've put on two of the pounds I lost.

Dang! A bump in the road....

Tomorrow is another day, right?

Day 38 Kicking the Pop Machine

Ok, so I give myself away by saying "pop". Yep, a Midwesterner here. For everyone else, that means "kicking the coke machine" or "kicking the soda machine".


"Kicking the pop machine" is a phrase I learned from this previously mentioned friend of mine who teaches personal growth classes. It goes like this. You approach a pop machine with the required change, deposit it, press a button, and out comes your choice. Next day, repeat. The day after that, repeat. Then one day you walk up, deposit your money, press a button and nothing happens. Nothing. No pop. No "sold out" message. Nothing. So what do you do? Push the button again....and again....then the coin return...then another selection. Still nothing happens. Then you kick it, trying desperately to get it to respond in the way you are used to.

Making changes in your life, including those that impact other people (like family members when you are dieting) is sorta like being the pop machine. All along you've been behaving in a certain, predictable way. But on the day that you stop being predictable, you interrupt that routine. And guess what. People like routine.

The process of changing your life and deciding to get healthier means that there will be lots of button pushing and pop-machine kicking going on during the adjustment period. And I don't mean only from other people.

Sometimes the "people" kicking the machine are the "itty bitty shitty committee" (IBSC) in your head. The little impulses that make you want to go back to the old, comfortable ways of doing things. And the more you stick to your plan, the more they turn up the heat and try to get you to go back to the old way of doing things.

There are two very important lessons to be learned from this analogy.

1.) Unplug the pop machine! Remember, you may try several, maybe even dozens of times to get that machine to spit out the pop you want (the expected response), but if the pop never comes, eventually you stop trying. The same is true when you begin changing things for yourself. If you have family or friends that are pushing your buttons and kicking your pop machine, expecting you to order that pizza, head for the fast food joint or otherwise try to get you back into old behavior patterns, if you stand firm and stick to your plan, eventually they wear themselves out trying and move on to other things.

2.) Beware the IBSC! They may be more powerful than a resistant spouse, probably because they know you better and are sneakier! Your inner voice, those little impulses that tempt you, are the ones that need retraining the most. They attach emotions to eating, and changes in your diet cause different emotions to occur. The committee is only interested in repeating the original emotions and the behavior that produces them. So when you begin to make changes in your eating habits, your brain looks for ways to get you back into your old behavior. The committee is very good at making you feel all sorts of things that will cause you to revert to old ways of behaving. They are NOT your friends. Fire the committee! This means that you need to remember that a period of change will always be accompanied by emotional changes and upheaval. Its normal. Working past it is where your success lies. If the inner voice of temptation is screaming, busy your mind with something else, and crank up the volume!

One phrase my committee is really good at is this: "Oh, this one thing won't matter...."

What are your committees good at?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 37 Thanks and Welcome, and Catabolic Foods

First off, I want to thank Patrick, over at responsibility199 for the shout-out, and subsequent new followers! I appreciate the vote of confidence in choosing to follow my blog. I hope to not disappoint!

Second, I want to welcome all my followers. This is exciting for me, as you are my first-ever blog followers! Again, i hope you all find something of value in what I post.


Have you heard the term "catabolic food"?  I first ran across the term a few years ago. It refers to food that supposedly burns more calories in digestion than the food itself actually contains, resulting in a "negative calorie" net intake.

I'll admit it. I'm a bit skeptical. But I do find it intriguing, and am currently looking for more supporting information from reliable sources. Meanwhile there are dozens of sites out there that have lists of these so-called negative calorie foods. As might be expected, nearly all of the foods are fruits and vegetables, with a bit of seafood thrown in to cover the protein area.

 What I find comforting about this list is that its consistent with other diet food lists: a large variety of fruits & veggies, and no demand for some off-the-wall quantity of one particular food.

What's really going through my head is how to cross-reference all these lists and find "super-foods" that offer the most in healthful benefits. Just adding a few of these to any diet can't help but be an improvement, right?

One food that keeps popping up is hot peppers. So far, I find them to be negative-calorie, anti-inflammatory, and loaded with anti-oxidants. Seranno chiles, which fall at the top of the anti-inflammatory scale, look sorta like a skinny jalapeno, a bit longer, and sometimes varied in color. They are typically hotter than jalapenos, so if you are unaccustomed to spicy food, you should go a bit easy on these. I love to put them in a pot of chili. But I think I'm going to look for some new recipes that use them, to add to our menu (besides the obvious salsa).


OOH!! OOH!!! I just found one that sounds awesome! Tequila Lime Shrimp


1 bag of frozen uncooked extra-large shrimp (about 25 shrimp)
juice of 2 limes
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbs chili powder
2 oz of premium tequila
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 small stalk celery, chopped fine
2 bay leaves
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 serrano peppers, seeded and chopped fine
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cilantro
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup raw long-grain rice

1) Defrost shrimp by running under cold water for 5 minutes.
2) Prepare rice.
3) Heat olive oil in 4-qt skillet on medium, saute the onion, celery, garlic until soft.
4) Add shrimp, salt and pepper, saute 5 minutes until shells are pink.
5) Stir in remaining ingredients, cover, simmer for 15 minutes.
6) Makes 4 servings of about 6 shrimp with sauce over rice

This is going on the menu for Wednesday! I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Days 35 & 36 Inflammation and Health

First of all, my update/check in.

Didn't get on the scale yesterday or today, but I'll recap my intake: yesterday I had two chicken soft tacos made with flour tortillas, refried beans, a tablespoon of rice, cheese, salsa and guacamole, a handful of corn chips with guacamole and salsa mixed, two Bud Light Limes,  two forks full of lemon cake, coffee with creamer (in the morning), and a glass of riesling wine (before bed). I have to add that the food/beer was at a graduation party, and other than the tiny bit of cake, I completely avoided the ridiculous amount fo cookies and sweets.

Today, in order to combat yesterday's not-so-great diet, I had a bowl of the squash soup I made the other day, two pieces of whole grain seeded bread, coffee, and water. Really wasn't all the hungry today. I also went for a two mile brisk walk this evening with the hubby.

Eh, tomorrow will be a good day!


Now on to the topic of the day: Inflammation and Health

We've all heard many times that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diet is a good start to getting healthier. Likewise, we all know that decreasing the amount of saturated fats is also a good thing.

But one thing we don't hear much about is inflammation and how it is linked to our health and diet.

Chronic inflammation that occurs throughout the body is associated with 4 of the leading causes of disease and death for both men and women in the US: heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. The reasons are becoming clear as researchers discover that this systemic inflammation, linked to the foods we eat, produces a certain protein, called C-reactive protein, that is produced by the liver during periods of inflammation. Having an elevated level of this protein in the blood stream for prolonged periods of time is what researchers believe is a contributing factor to disease.

Ok, so that's a lot of nebulous scientific jargon that sounds a bit interesting, but how do I relate that to my diet? How do I use that info to help me make better choices in my life? Eat more veggies. Yeah, got that. But which ones? Are some better than others? Do some actually cause inflammation? How do I choose?

Well, one tool I've found to help me make better choices is Its a great website for checking out the foods I eat for things like calories, fat content, protein content, etc. But it also has additional indicators that show things like Inflammation Factor, Estimated Glycemic Load, Nutrient Balance and Protein Quality.

So this Inflammation Factor is a rating system that indicates a food's tendency to induce inflammation in the body. The higher, or more positive, the number, the better the food is for you because it is anti-inflammatory. While it may be difficult, if not impossible to eat only foods that are positive, NutritionData's website states that the goal should be to balance out the lower (negative) numbers with the higher positive numbers, with a net positive number being the goal.

Well, now I at least have a tool that will help me, but how do I find these anti-inflammatory foods?  You can find an extensive list here. There are pages and pages of foods listed that have very high anti-inflammatory qualities, some of the highest being hot peppers, ginger root, garlic, fish oil from salmon, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, and onions.

The reason I'm excited about this website (besides being free) is that my process of changing my diet and lifestyle is intended to be gradual and sustainable, and any tool I find to help me with that will just make things that much easier. I really want my changes to involve things that I like, that my family likes, and that I can continue to do without causing major disruptions in "how we do things". Basically, I want to "switch things out", one bad thing for one good thing.

Small, steady changes.

That being said, my plan is to incorporate one additional highly anti-inflammatory food into each meal for the next week. This will be my test period to see how things go over with the troupes.

By the way, olive oil is a positive (anti-inflammatory) food. YAY!!! That goes along with my earlier post on switching fats to lose fat.

I'll let you know what changes I make and how well they go over.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 34 The Harvest Moon was calling me...

So...this year's autumnal equinox coincided with a beautiful full harvest moon, and despite the fact that the magic was rather lost on my family, I decided to make a Harvest inspired dinner. Admittedly some of the things were **not** diet, but I tried to select recipes that used healthy ingredients, all fresh stuff, minimal butter and saturated fats, lots of veggies...that sort of thing.

The menu: roast pork chops with rosemary-garlic-mustard glaze and baked over carrots, onions and parsnips; mashed potatoes with basil-garlic-olive oil and blended with low-fat yogurt; butternut squash soup made with carrots, squash, onions, celery, veggie broth and topped with curried apples. And the very last item is maple oatmeal scones,

Now before anyone starts thinking that I totally blew it here, I want to point out that I ate exactly 1/2 of a pork chop (about 200 calories), about 3-4 each of parsnips and carrots (maybe 50 calories), a half bowl of the butternut squash soup (95 calories), and 1/2 of a maple scone (about 200 calories). I skipped the mashed potatoes altogether. And we had mulled cider to drink (about 90 calories).

Note: the scone recipe used whole wheat flour and oatmeal, and contained a whopping 1/2 cup sugar in the entire batch of dough (which made 18 scones).

Admittedly this was not an ideal dinner, especially with the scone. But the big accomplishment for me was portion control. And I actually felt good both physically and mentally because I didn't stuff myself. So I can eat tasty non-diet food and still not blow it.

And here is the pretty Harvest Moon!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 33 Don't Should on Yourself

A good friend of mine teaches personal growth seminars. The seminars are focused on helping people recognize the beliefs and behaviors that hold them back from achieving their dreams, that sabotage their relationships, and generally serve to keep them "stuck" in their current mind-set. Very insightful this friend of mine, and very other words, very good at calling me on my sh*t. But on the flip side, he is totally non-judgemental about it. There is no condemnation in his observations, only honesty and curiousity. And he has said to me on more than one occasion "Don't should on yourself".....(read "don't sh*t on yourself")....don't beat yourself up in ways that serve no only makes a mess.

Last week Lanie Painie posted on polarizing words, like always/never, and the idea that one stumble = complete failure (she doesn't feel this way, she was observing it is someone else). I've thought of her post several times this week, and it really coincides with my friend's  "Don't should on yourself" phrase.

When assessing our progress (or lack of it), it's important to:

1) Be honest: we will not make progress if we constantly fool ourselves and make excuses about our choices in foods/quantity/frequency, and about exercise or lack thereof. My friend is always an observer, always ready to look at a choice or behavior and wonder about it. "Hmm, that's interesting. I just did such-and-such. What's that all about? How could I have done that differently?". 

Example: I ate a donut. Hmm, that's interesting. That's not consistent with my goals. What's that all about? Well, the boss brought them in for our meeting and I couldn't resist. So my boss brings in donuts and I feel compelled to eat one, even though I know that they're bad for me. Did I feel like I needed to be part of the group? Was it the sight of them that did it? The smell? All of the above? How could I do that differently? I could ask the boss if he/she'd consider something healthier next time. I could be sure to eat breakfast before meetings so I'm not hungry and feeling tempted in that way. I could bring my own snack to the meeting. And at the very least, I could eat HALF a donut instead. Heck, you could even suggest that the boss bring in those little donut holes. One of those is better than the whole donut! The important thing is to observe without judgement, and then explore future possibilities. Think about the things you CAN do instead of the things you CAN'T. You can't change the past. Which leads to.....

2.) Don't should on yourself: don't internally berate yourself for past mistakes. It won't change a damn thing. The mistakes have been made and no amount of beating yourself up is going to un-do it. Better to accept that you made a choice that is not consistent with your goals, and that moment has passed. This moment presents an opportunity to make a better choice. And then make it. End of story. No should-ing. Observe the chain of events that lead to the mistake, and look for the triggers that caused them. Don't judge, just notice what they are. And look for different possibilities.

I think the "should-ing" is a way to prolong the self-sabotage. We punish ourselves for making the mistake by making more of them. It's a way of subconsciously telling ourselves that we don't deserve to be successful.

Stop the madness! We all deserve to be successful.

Winston Churchill said "If you're going through hell, keep going". I love that phrase. I even got it on a fridge magnet, and whenever my kids are struggling (or I'm struggling) I point it out to them. If I'm going through a bad situation, what is the sense of stopping to smell the rotten roses? Why linger? Why prolong the misery? Get moving! If you're running along a stretch of burning coals, you're not going to stand still, are ya? Heck no! If anything, you run faster and straighter toward the end.

Should-ing on yourself is the same as standing still on the hot coals. It makes the pain more intense. Is the goal more pain?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 32 - Switching fats and losing fat

7 pounds!! Woohoo!

I am feeling so good about this! Last year, hubby and I made a half-hearted attempt to lose some weight, and after 3 weeks, I had lost NOTHING. I was so disappointed and frustrated.

This time I'm taking a different approach. First of all, I'm not making it competitive. When I make things competitive, all I think about is "I don't want to lose!" See the irony in this? If I'm telling myself I "don't want to lose", how am I "going to lose" weight? I'm working against myself!

This time, I'm just going to work on my goal of shedding this weight, and changing the kinds of things we eat, and hubby will 1.) be eating healthier anyway, or 2.) start cooking more!

I realize that its only been about a month, but 7 pounds feels really good!

Over the years since hubby and I have been flirting with the idea of losing weight, we have debated over the choices of fats we use in our foods. butter vs margerine or spray or other butter substitute, canola oil, olive oil, etc. The biggest debate has been over butter. I personally love butter and have always felt that, even though butter is 100% fat, its a "natural" fat, and hence better able to be processed than all the artificial crap that's in margerine or butter-ish sprays, spreads, etc. I've alway thought its better to eat what I can pronounce than a bunch of questionable stuff I can't.

That being said, I was online this morning and saw (for the billionth time) the ad for "The Diet Solution". We've all seen that ad, over and over. Its everywhere! I couldn't help myself. I had to click on it. So I ended up watching this video that reveals a few of their "secrets" about weight loss, which they state is available free to anyone if you are willing to dig for the information.

One statement made in the video is BAD fats = hydrogenated oils, canola oil, margerine, butter substitutes; GOOD fats = butter, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado and raw nuts.

Good news for me! I love butter! I use olive oil often. I love avocado and nuts. Bad news for me: I also use canola oil often, for cooking. The bit about hydrogenated oil is not new. I've been avoiding that lately anyway, and it's the hubby that uses the butter sub/sprays. Hopefully I can convince him to break that habit.

So, in keeping with the plan to state the things I am changing and the progress/sustainability of the changes I make, I'm going to pitch the canola oil, and start using the olive oil for most things. I also use an olive oil Pam for a lot of pan frying. I think I can stick with that, although just using a paper towel and a teaspoon of oil to coat a pan is probably more economical, contains no propellants, and limits the amount of fat I actually add to the pan.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 31 update

Hubby and I went for a 4 mile brisk walk! Woohoo!

Followed through on the plan. That feels good.

Day 31

Well, I don't even want to get on the scale.

My son is getting ready to move out of state and had asked me to make him a dish that grandma used to make a lot when he was little: potato pancakes. So for dinner, it was potato pancakes with sour cream, and bacon to go with.

And as I was putting it all on the table, I reminded everyone that this was a low-fat, no carb dinner. ;)

Not a green thing to be seen.

I must say that despite the fact that the items were particularly not on my list of good/healthy things to eat, I did behave myself a bit. I only had one piece of bacon and two pancakes with less than a teaspoon of sour cream, total. The pancakes were about 5 inches in diameter. So overall, I think it wasn't a terrible slip, just not very nutritious. The first pancake tasted really good and the second one just just seemed "heavy". And afterward, they gave me heartburn. Somehow I think they were just better when I was a kid.


I'm not happy with myself for avoiding walks in the evening. Hubby and I have talked several times this week about going, just haven't gotten off our butts to do so. grrrr.....


I am going to get on the scale now...brb.

OK, well I'm holding steady. Nothing lost, nothing gained. So that means even though I've eaten a few things I shouldn't have this week, I've kept my portion sizes low enough that I'm not gaining the weight back. Yay!

But I'm never going to lose it unless I step up this game. I have to start moving around! Tonight, I am going for a walk. 3 miles. 5pm.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 30

I was feeling pretty discouraged these last few days. After last week's "over-stuffing", I spent the next few days taking it easy on the portion sizes, and it has paid off, at least a little. As of this morning, I'm down another pound. That's consistent with the scale I got on last night as well.

I'm in a bit of a slump as far as getting up and moving, walking, stretching. I **intended** to go for walks this weekend, especially since I had Friday off of work. I figured I had plenty of time. But the rain persisted Friday and into Saturday, and by Sunday I had other things going on, and by the time I got aroung to having a spare hour, it was dark. Not that I'm opposed to walking in the dark, but getting to sleep at night is enough of a challenge for me without getting my heart pumping a few hours before bed.

Which brings me to an issue that has come up for me in the last few years....getting to sleep at night.

Now admittedly, I've always been a night person, but it used to be that I could lay down at night and be asleep within 3 to 5 minutes. Now, there are nights when I will lay there for a couple hours, tossing and turning. Is this an age thing?!? Is it lack of exercise? I just keep thinking that once I lose t his weight and start exercising on a **regular basis**, I'll be more sleepy at night and have an easier time falling asleep.

Last night, I went to bed after midnight, and this is what the whirlwind of my brain was thinking about: an Enya song, Adobe Photoshop tools, the painting that I need to finish in our bedroom, WordPress templates, planting flower bulbs in my front yard in the next couple weeks, doing laundry, and some movie I can't recall the title to. And it was like channel surfing. Every few seconds, it would shift, all the while with this song in the background. Holy moly! Let me off this damn ride!! Turn it off!

Not even sure what time is was when I finally fell asleep.

Please, please! Someone tell me that this will improve when I get healthier!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 23

Trying to keep myself on track today. CONSCIOUS CHOICES!

Had my "morning ritual coffee" and some water before lunch. For lunch, I had some of those wonderful left-over roasted carrots and a cup of tea. Not very balanced, I know. But I'm trying to redeem myself from yesterday.

Besides, truth be told, I'm still feeling bloated from last night's dinner. Not in the actual stomach...that was screaming at me "IM HUNGRY"...its the rest of my belly that still feels full.

Know what I mean?

Do you ever get that? Eat a huge meal for that makes you feel like you'll be full for 3 days, and wake up starving? What's up with that?!? How can I possibly feel that way when I KNOW that food is still digesting?

Thankfully, the small bowl of carrots were enough to get rid of those pesky pangs that were bothering me all morning.

Which reminds me. I'm (sorta) reading this book called Beyond the 120 Year Diet . I've had this and several other books by the same author and his daughter, all pertaining to the concept that we eat way too much food to live a long, healthy life, free of disease and illness. Author Roy Walford's research, and those of others involved in the calorie restriction research community, have determined that the key to a long and healthy life is to limit the amount and type of calories we consume. He references extensive research in the field. Apparently, in addition to lengthening one's lifespan, it also increases the number of healthy years you can live, sort of stretching out the bell-curve of vitality. Excess calories are responsible for the leading causes of death in the US: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer.

I'm very intrigued by all of this. Who doesn't want to live a long and healthy life? But I am not so sure I am willing or able to abide by his rigorous menu plan. I do like the idea of eating healthier food, but the Food Network is just so tempting!! Bobby and Rachel and all those folks are the antithesis of a reduced calorie life-style!

I am going to try some of his recipes though. And I will post what I try and whether I like it and whether I feel like its a sustainable change for me.

Stay tuned!

And if anyone has experience with this, please share!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 22

Ugh! I was doing pretty well today...right up until dinner!

I am so full that I'm uncomfortable! I so wish I had stopped when I was about halfway through dinner...I even thought about it, and my mouth over-ruled it.

I think if I had slowed down while I was eating, I might have been able to eat more sensibly.

All that being said, dinner was not at the top of the healthy list: breaded and baked city chicken, roasted potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil. Everything tasted really good, and I just had no self control at all.


Now I feel uncomfortable...

This is where that "making conscious choices" thing should have come into play. I even had a fleeting thought that I should stop when I was halfway through dinner...actually, the thought was even before that, when I was filling my plate. I thought "wow, this is too much food",  the thought that won was "wow, this all looks so good" and so I just kept shoveling.

Bleh! Now I just can't wait to digest it all and feel better...

I should have made those better choices.

This is actually a valuable moment: I realize that the inner voice of reason was actually there and speaking up. I heard it. I just chose to ignore it. This is actually a good thing, because I know I made a semi-conscious choice.

Tomorrow: ALL conscious choices!!

Wish me luck


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 21

I don't feel like I'm losing any more weight, and I haven't been on the scale in a couple days to check, but I am still sticking to eating smaller portions and, for the most part, healthier stuff.

For lunch I had some of the left-over salad from yesterday: red & yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, spinach, slivered onions, tomatoes, mozzarella and a few pasta bowties, tossed with Caesar dressing. YUM!

Tea and coffee and water to drink.

I slipped a bit for dinner and had a Michelina's fettuccine alfredo. Too much fat and all carbs, but luckily small portions.

A handful of popcorn, no butter, for a snack.

BUT! I did go on a 2 mile walk this evening. Yay!!

It felt good to get out and go. Could have gone longer...but at least I went!

Making Conscious Choices

Ever read the book "Way of the Peaceful Warrior"? It's a great book filled with "meaning of life" stuff. But there is one bit (among many) that stands out for me, especially with regard to my health.

In the book, Socrates has a conversation with Dan about making conscious choices.

Whether he was puffing on a cigar or swigging whiskey (contrary to what Dan expected of him), Socrates explained that each choice we make should be a conscious one. We should be aware of the consequences of each decision, instead of blindly stumbling along through life, led unaware by our emotions and compulsions into actions that harm us or hold us back.

When I think of this in the context of health, of eating and of exercise, I find myself looking at things in a new way. When I am thirsty, I want a drink. What I drink can be harmful (alcohol) or helpful (pure water). Some can be both harmful and helpful if you think about it. Like a glass of wine. Alcohol = relatively harmful. Relaxating, enjoyable flavor = good. Being able to see all aspects = ability to create balance. When I consciously think about the different aspects of a glass of wine, I can see that one glass can be beneficial, whereas one bottle may be harmful and so I choose one glass, and feel more balanced.

When I think about being fit, about exercising, about eating and drinking, and am aware of the consequences of those choices, I find it easier to make better choices, healthier choices.

When I am really not aware, not thinking, acting impulsively, I end up feeling guilty or discouraged. I end up overindulging or eating the wrong things for extended periods of time. It takes a physical toll on me and then I feel worse.

By keeping in mind the fact that I have complete control over the choices I make, and by keeping it in the forefront of my mind that any choice I make has consequences, I find it so much easier to make better choices and when I choose something that isn't the best for me, I feel less guilt about it and I feel more compelled to balance out the poorer choices with healthier ones. I feel more in control. And I feel less guilt.

In a way, I guess you could say that this mindset helps me maintain an "everything in moderation" approach. And it feels easier.

Rest of Day 20

Yesterday's lunch: tomatoes with a bit of salt, a handful of cashews, and two mini-pita sandwiches made with diced white chicken mixed with cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, salt & black pepper. Minimal fat, no added sugar, healthy protein and not too many carbs.

Dinner yesterday: Cubed sirloin tip steak marinated in Caesar dressing and grilled on kabobs, grilled mushrooms brushed with Ceasar, and a salad of diced tomatoes, cucumber, red & yellow bell pepper, slivered onions, fresh spinach and diced mozzarella tossed with Caesar.

Tea, coffee and water to drink yesterday.

Now comes the time that I need to muster up some motivation to get moving and start exercising. I'm draggin butt....not feeling like I want to exert myself....or more specifically, not looking forward to the soreness afterward of starting a new exercise routine.

Who can relate to that?!!?


Stretching is one thing that I do that, at the very least, relieves some stress/tension and gives me a little more energy. Years and years ago, I bought this book...

Stretching, 20th Anniversary Revised Edition

I love this book because its very easy to follow: I just pick a spot on the floor, spread a blanket and start going through the stretches one at a time, page by page. The illustrations make it very simple to follow, and the stretches really do a great job of easing tension, energizing my muscles, and making me feel much more limber, ever after only one session. So even when I don't actually get out and walk, run or bike, stretching at least makes me feel like I'm still doing something constructive. In addition to general stretching exercises, the book also includes a large section of targeted plans specifically designed for different sports, such as running, tennis, etc.

I have this version, the twentieth anniversary edition, but there is also a newer version. I highly recommend it, since one of the keys to injury-free exercise and sports is stretching. Excellent book!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Days 18-20

Well, I'm still hanging in there at 150lbs. This weekend I had a couple of really good meals, but I watched the quantities. Instead of eating until I was stuffed, I took smaller servings and fewer starchy items, and stopped **before** I felt full.

I'm also taking advantage of the summer fruits and veggies and eating those for snacks instead of junk. Yay!

I love tomatoes, especially home-grown tomatoes, and last Thursday, a co-worker brought in a big bag of grape tomatoes from her garden. They were great, and I can eat those without feeling the least bit guilty! So I did....

This week I am "GOING" to get some walking in, if its the last thing I do!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 17

Bleck! Someone brought in donuts to work today, and talked me into one (ok, I let myself be talked into it). I ate half of it. It sounded kinda good, thinking about it, but honestly....that much sugar in the morning just doesn't feel too good in the tummy. I tossed the rest.


On another note: been doing some reading on this 120 year diet plan. So the idea is that eating a diet with restricted calorie content, but superior nutritional quality is supposed to not only help you live longer, but will also extend the number of years that you live disease free. Author Dr. Roy Walford had apparently done extensive research into the effects of calorie restriction and how it can help you extend your life span to a estimated 120 years. Sounds interesting and long as I'm healthy and able-minded. Not sure I'd want to live that long if I was incapacitated or senile.

Some of the concerns I have about this and pretty much any other diet is whether I can truly make the transition into cooking and eating in a completely different way. Let's face it: the food I ate growing up and have continued to cook and eat as an adult is not the healthiest....too many calories, too many carbs, too much fat. And seriously changing my diet also includes changing the diet of my family...which may be a lot more difficult!

But the reality is that we would all be better off if I were to start changing things a little bit at a time.

One of the first things I'm changing is the amount of starch we eat at virtually every meal. I'm used to cooking lots of pasta, lots of rice, or lots of potatoes with most dinners. I'm making smaller amounts of those and adding in more vegetables. That doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is actually eating the vegetables, unfortunately. So I'm trying to be patient. And I'm trying to find new and interesting ways to cook veggies that will make them more appealing.

I'm getting away from the old canned vegetable routine that I grew up with, and cooking fresh veggies instead. The challenge is finding different veggies and getting everyone to try them. I'll post a few new recipes as I find them, and if the family is receptive and eats them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Days 15 & 16

September 8 & 9....Well, I sorta blew it the other day (Day 14). I ended up having 3 Cokes that day and a Taco Bell taco (only one!). I was super-busy that day and ate on the run. But yesterday I got back to water, juice and tea. A small sandwich for lunch and a light dinner....could have skipped the garlic bread, though.

Today, small sandwich and tea for lunch. Probably have left-overs for dinner.

Still haven't started much exercise yet, but I'm feeling less tired overall, so I feel ready to start something soon.

Struggling with a bit of a cold this week, so when this stuffy head clears up, I'll be walking after work. We've had ferocious wind for the last few days, so stepping outside has just aggravated the stuffiness.

My motivation is a bit low right now, so posting here is helping me keep things in mind, and at least keep track of what I'm doing/eating.

I guess my biggest efforts are in staying aware of portion sizes and staying (mostly) away from the sugary drinks.

Need to kick the motivation up a bit and start doing more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Days 9-14 Lost 4 lbs!

Wow! Six days have gone by! Isn't that how it always goes when you start to change things in your life and then so easily slip back into old ways!

Well, on the flip side, I've stayed away from soda this last week. I've stuck with the (requisite) morning coffee, water, a little juice here and there, and a couple of the zero-calorie Sobe LifeWater beverages (naturally sweetened with stevia; no artificial sweeteners!).

Food: basically, I've been eating about 1/2 of my normal portion sizes, and a bit less frequently. For snacks, I've had a single serving bag of Lay's Baked potato chips, two little squares of chocolate from a large bar, popcorn with butter flavored sprinkles (3 times) and the rest of the snacks have been fruit, plums, pluots and nectarines.

One reason for the smaller meals is that I have a bit of a cold, so I don't have as much of an appetite. The trick will be keeping the portions small when my appetite returns. I know that if I keep my meals small for at least a few weeks, it will be easier to stick with it since my stomach with shrink a bit. That's a good thing.

Weight check-in: 151 lbs. Lost 4 lbs! Woohoo! Its a start.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Days 7 & 8

I'm still sticking with water to drink most of the day. I never used to like to drink water very much, and dreaded the idea of "having" to drink it instead of tea, juice, soda, etc. Once we started purchasing bottled water, I slowly started drinking it once in I drink it all the time. Sweet beverages are less appealing than they used to be. Heck, I used to put 5-6 teaspoons of sugar in a glass of iced tea!! That's a habit I HAD to break!

Went for a walk yesterday, about 1.5 miles, briskly. It felt good, but the weather was really humid, so it didn't take long to feel really warm.

I had a large lunch yesterday, so dinner was an English muffin with about 1/3 as much butter as I used to use. Water to drink.

Peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and chicken (un)kabobs for dinner.

No snacking at all for two days. (we're out of Doritos! LOL)

Planned on going for a walk tonight, but its raining. Hopefully tomorrow!